Welcome to the website for the Crescent Ridge Dawn Redwoods Preserve, a metasequoia reforestation project located in the scenic Sauraton Mountains of North Carolina. The purpose of this site is to not only familiarize you with the project itself, but with the dawn redwood, Metasequoia glyptostroboides, as well.
Dawn redwoods once blanketed the entire Northern Hemisphere and were thought to have been extinct for millions of years until their rediscovery in 1941 by a Chinese forester in a remote corner of the Sichuan (at the time, Szechuan) Province in south-central China. Somehow, a little over one thousand trees had survived for millennia in a region that ironically is not even Metasequoia’s ideal environment! How then, did it survive in the Shui-sha Valley when it perished elsewhere? That is one of the great modern silvicultural mysteries.
There is a crescent-shaped area in the eastern and southern region of the United States, where ideal growing conditions exist and optimal growth occurs. This is where the biggest and stateliest of the metasequoias in this country live, and with the exception of the Type tree in Moudao (Mo-tao-chi) and a few others in China, sixty-year-old trees in this country are already beginning to surpass some of the oldest trees in China! CRDRP lies in the heart of this crescent-shaped region and has some unique properties that will allow phenomenal growth to occur in the future. In fact, the project could not exist a half mile in either direction!
So what makes the area at CRDRP so unique? Many of the surrounding hills are dry; not conducive for redwood growth. At CRDRP however, the limestone substrata is water laden and also contains a tremendous amount of iron; one of the main components of the blue fertilizer everyone loves to put in their gardens. For all intents and purposes, the CRDRP redwoods are growing in natural Miracle-Gro®. Virginia pines that seeded themselves as pioneer growth in 1989 are now thirty feet tall and sport growth rings of up to an inch! The potential for rapid growth at the site is enormous.
Additionally, in the center of what is almost the equivalent of a temperate rain forest, there is a very dry area where yuccas and cacti are being grown very successfully; a desert in the middle of an oasis!
All these qualities help to
make this one of the most unique silvicultural experiments in the world.
Doug Hanks © 2005