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Group clones giant trees in time for Earth Day

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
April 22nd, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

A small team of arborists has found a way to clone giants. Working in Michigan, the team has raised redwoods from sprouts for planting all around the globe.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - An arborist and his sons from Michigan are working to save redwood trees and the environment on this Earth Day. Harvesting shoots from ancient redwoods, the group has prepared clones of the massive redwoods for planting around the world.

Jake Milarch and his two sonds, Jared and Jake Jr., own and operate a nursery in Copemish, Michigan and became concerned about the environment in the 1990s. They chose, as a way to improve the planet, to travel across the country to find what they call \"champion\" trees from which to harvest shoots.

Champion trees according to the group are trees that have lived for hundreds or even thousands of years. Such trees can be hard to find. Along the California coast and in the mountains of the Sierras, some of the largest trees were cut down over a century ago as loggers sought to maximize their returns.

Several very ancient trees were lost to such activity. Yet, some of their stumps still produce shoots which can be harvested and turned into trees. Those trees are genetic clones, or duplicates, of the originals because they are in fact part of the original tree.

Milarch and his sons believe that cloning the redwoods from California might be one of the best bets they can make. They refer to the tree\'s extraordinary ability to absorb tremendous amounts of carbon dioxide. Trees take in carbon dioxide as food and release oxygen.

If there are enough trees to absorb human carbon emissions the group thinks, we could stem or even reverse global warming by removing a potent greenhouse gas.

Trees from Milarch\'s collection are being planted around the world today as part of Earth Day celebrations. Australia, Canada, England, Germany, Ireland, New Zealand, and of course the United States, are getting trees from his collection of California coastal redwoods.

The trees are an average of 18 inches tall, and are taken from giant redwoods that were cut down by loggers, but whose stumps produce viable shoots.

These shoots were fostered in his laboratory before being transferred for planting.

The family laboratory has several thousand trees in its archive and it is planning to distribute the cloned trees free of charge to places that will plant and care for them. Those places include colleges and private residences where the recipients have pledged to care for them.

If you are interested in the project and wish to learn more, click here.

Article brought to you by: Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)