Climbing a Giant | God's World News

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Climbing a Giant
News Shorts
Posted: May 24, 2024
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    Researchers climb General Sherman, the world’s largest tree, in Sequoia National Park, California. (AP/Terry Chea)
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    A researcher climbs General Sherman. (AP/Terry Chea)
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    General Sherman stands 275 feet tall. (AP/Terry Chea)
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What a tree! Would you dare to climb such a giant?

The huge sequoia stands in Sequoia National Park. It has a name too: General Sherman. Researchers scale it. What are they looking for?

Bark beetles!

And they come down from General Sherman with good news. The 2,200-year-old tree is clean of the dangerous bugs.

“The General Sherman tree is doing fine right now,” says Anthony Ambrose. He is the executive director of the Ancient Forest Society. “It seems to be a very healthy tree that’s able to fend off any beetle attack.”

It was the first time climbers had scaled the famous 275-foot sequoia tree.

Giant sequoias are the Earth’s largest living things. They have survived for thousands of years in California’s western Sierra Nevada Mountains.

But hot, dry weather threatens even them. In 2020 and 2021, wildfires killed as much as 20 percent of the world’s 75,000 mature sequoias.

So fire is a big problem. Scientists don’t want to fight off bugs at the same time they’re fighting fire.

Bark beetles have lived alongside sequoias for thousands of years. But now they are able to kill the trees. Scientists recently discovered about 40 sequoia trees destroyed by beetles.

The beetles attack the trees from the canopy. They bore into branches and work their way down the trunk. The tiny beetles can kill a tree within six months.

That’s why park officials allowed Mr. Ambrose and his colleagues to climb General Sherman. The scientists gave the tree a checkup. Journalists and visitors watched.

But it’s not possible to climb every sequoia tree. So they’re also testing whether drones could do the job instead.

What happens if they do find beetles?

They have some ideas: Spray water. Remove branches. Use chemical treatments to get rid of the bugs.

Did you know? General Sherman is old, but he’s not the oldest. That title belongs to another tree in California named Methuselah. Do you know why Methuselah has that name? You can find the answer in Genesis 5:27.

And out of the ground the Lord God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. — Genesis 2:9