In August 2006, a Coast Redwood known as Hyperion was named as the world's tallest tree after having been measured at standing at 115.52m in height. This enormous Coast Redwood (also known as the Giant Redwood and the California Redwood) was found in the Redwood National Park in northern California, in an area that is now protected from logging thanks to it's listing as a World Heritage Site in 1980.|
Coast Redwoods occur along the North American Pacific coastline, mainly in northern California and in the coastal region of south-west Oregon. Coast Redwoods need environments with lots of rain and are subjected to up to 100 inches a year in some parts of their natural range. Although having once thought to have occupied an area of more than 2 million acres, the Coast Redwoods are today confined to a small 470 mile long strip of the Pacific coast.
Coast Redwoods are not only the tallest species of tree on Earth, but they are also among the oldest living. The average age of a Coast Redwood tends to range from 600 - 1,800 years, with the oldest ever recorded having reached the ripe old age of 2,200! Most grow to between 60 and 110 meters in height, and have very soft, red, fibrous bark that is up to 30cm thick at points. They are also notoriously wide, with the diameter of Hyperion measuring 7.9 meters.
The tallest and oldest specimens are most commonly found in moist, foggy valleys where there is a year round water supply, such as a stream or small river, coupled with a high annual rain fall. These evergreen forests also support a wide variety of wildlife including all kinds of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and invertebrates, many of which are either unique to the region, or are now threatened and very rare (such as the Northern Spotted Owl).
Today the Coast Redwood has been listed by the IUCN as a species that is Vulnerable in it's surrounding environment. It is one of the most valuable timber species in California, mainly due to it's beauty and resistance to decay, with logging having been the primarily reason for it's demise. Now, nearly 900,000 acres of secondary Redwood forest is managed for timber, and successful cultivation of the species has also occurred in suitable regions in New Zealand, Hawaii and the UK.
Ben the Beaver's Barrel of Laughs