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Titans of the trees: Stunning photographs of 3,200-year-old giant sequoias  as high as 20-story buildings on Sierra Nevada slopes

  • Mammoth trees only grow on western slopes of  mountain range running through California and Nevada

  By Daily Mail Reporter

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These are some of the world's largest trees,  rising majestically out of the snowy slopes along the Sierra Nevada mountain  range.

Photographer Michael Nichols spent two weeks  capturing images of the 'President' - the world's second-biggest tree which is  at least 3,200 years old in Sequoia National Park, deep in the southern  region. 

Sequoias only grow on the western slope of  the Sierra Nevada, a mountain range which runs 400 miles through Nevada and  California. Giant sequoias can reach  247-feet - the height of a 20-story building.

Scroll down  for video

Taking on the president: The world's second largest tree, a sequoia dubbed the president, on the western slope of the Sierra Nevada mountain range

Taking on the president: The world's second largest  tree, a sequoia dubbed the president, on the western slope of the Sierra Nevada  mountain range

Tree of life: Sequoias are particular to the region and can grow as tall as 20-story buildings

Tree of life: Sequoias are particular to the region and  can grow as tall as 20-story buildings

Taming a titan: Photographer Michael Nichols spent two weeks capturing breathtaking images of the majestic tree

Taming a titan: Photographer Michael Nichols spent two  weeks capturing breathtaking images of the majestic tree

As writer David Quammen, whose article  accompanies the photographer's series in National  Geographic, noted: 'It’s  not quite the largest tree on Earth. It’s the second largest.

'Recent  research by scientist Steve Sillett of Humboldt State University and his  colleagues has confirmed that the President ranks number two among all big trees  that have ever been measured—and Sillett’s team has measured quite a  few.

It doesn’t  stand so tall as the tallest of coast redwoods or of Eucalyptus regnans in  Australia, but height isn’t everything; it’s far more massive than any coast  redwood or eucalypt.

Iconic: The President is one of the major tourist draws at the Giant Sequoia National Monument which covers much of the Sierra Nevada

Iconic: The President is one of the major tourist draws  at the Giant Sequoia National Monument which covers much of the Sierra  Nevada

Redwood
General Sherman

Immense: The tallest sequoias are so large that it is  impossible to look at them in one go

Intrepid: A researcher climbs a sequoia as part of an effort to measure and map the giant trees

Intrepid: A researcher climbs a sequoia as part of an  effort to measure and map the giant trees

'Its dead  spire, blasted by lightning, rises to 247 feet. Its four great  limbs, each as  big as a sizable tree, elbow outward from the trunk  around halfway up,  billowing into a thick crown like a mushroom cloud  flattening against the  sky.

'Although its trunk isn’t quite so bulky as that of the largest giant, the  General  Sherman, its crown is fuller than the Sherman’s. The President  holds nearly two  billion leaves.

'Trees grow  tall and wide-crowned as a measure of competition with other  trees, racing  upward, reaching outward for sunlight and water. And a  tree doesn’t stop  getting larger—as a terrestrial mammal does, or a  bird, their size constrained  by gravity—once it’s sexually mature. A  tree too is constrained by gravity, but  not in the same way as a condor  or a giraffe.

'It doesn’t  need to locomote, and it fortifies its structure by continually adding more  wood. Given the constant imperative of seeking resources  from the sky and the  soil, and with sufficient time, a tree can become  huge and then keep growing.  Giant sequoias are gigantic because they are very, very old.'

Survivors: Many of the most impressive trees were destroyed soon after they were discovered by settlers in the 19th century

Survivors: Many of the most impressive trees were  destroyed soon after they were discovered by settlers in the 19th  century

Gorgeous: The majestic plants are considered one of the greatest natural wonders in the U.S.

Gorgeous: The majestic plants are considered one of the  greatest natural wonders in the U.S.

The 'rusty red' tree has a footprint  as  large as a room in an average home, and is so huge that it is almost  impossible  to look at.

Their giant size allows them to  survive  disasters which would wipe out many of their woodland  competitors - they are  unaffected by storms, resistant to forest fire  and can live even after being  struck by lightning.

And the trees never stop growing even when  they are hundreds of feet tall - in fact, their rate of growth has been found to  increase the older they are.

The trunk is constantly widening, while the  upper limbs grow stronger even as the trees age.

Steve Sillett and his helpers proved  this  unexpected finding by climbing up the biggest trees and measuring  them more  thoroughly than had ever been done before.

The full article is published in the December  issue of National Geographic.

VIDEO: Drive  THROUGH a tree and explore the tallest sequoia on the planet!

Discovery: The trees were a source of huge fascination when they were found by settlers

Discovery: The trees were a source of huge fascination  when they were found by settlers

Destruction: The early settlers were not afraid to cut down the giant trees for timber

Destruction: The early settlers were not afraid to cut  down the giant trees for timber

Innovation: A settler in 1890 shows off the path he has cut through the giant sequoia Wawona

Innovation: A settler in 1890 shows off the path he has  cut through the giant sequoia Wawona

KING OF THE SIERRA NEVADA: HOW THE  GIANT SEQUOIA IS THE WORLD'S LARGEST PLANT

The giant sequoia - Sequoiadendron giganteum  - tends to live for many  centuries, enabling it to grow larger than any other  species of plant.

The trees are naturally found only in a small  area of the Sierra Nevada in  California, nearly all of which is covered by the  Giant Sequoia National Monument.

While they  have been successfully grown in  other areas of North America and around  the world, nowhere have they been  standing long enough to challenge the  size records set by the Sierra Nevada  giants.

They can live for up to 3,500 years, reaching  heights comparable to skyscrapers.

The tallest trees currently standing include  the President, the General  Sherman and the General Grant, all above 240ft - but  they are far from  the tallest known in history.

Soon after the sequoia was discovered by  American settlers in the early 19th century, many of the most impressive  specimens were cut down and  exhibited to gawking crowds.

One of the biggest of them all was known as  the Mother of the Forest, which stood in the area from 668 BC and was discovered  by George Gale in  1852.

He stripped the bark of the tree, leading to  its swift demise, while a forest fire in 1908 destroyed what was  left.

Champion: The General Sherman is the tallest tree in the world still standing, at a staggering 275ft

Champion: The General Sherman is the tallest tree in the  world still standing, at a staggering 275ft

Stunning: The images of the magnificent giant sequoias are featured in the December issue of National Geographic
Stunning: The images of the magnificent giant sequoias are featured in the December issue of National Geographic

Stunning: The images of the magnificent giant sequoias  are featured in the December issue of National Geographic

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2235452/Giant-sequoia-Natio... Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

Views: 203

Replies to This Discussion

Thanks for the article.. my most beloved trees..

Someday I will see then in person.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

N&Z&Z

wowwwwww.. Thak you for sharing..

I agree,' Wow!' This is a stunning share, Trevor. The trees are truly awesome and magnificent, and the photos are beautiful. Seeing how tiny (puny was the word which came to mind first!) the humans are in comparison to these trees, brings a consciious awareness of the sheer power of nature. Thank you for sharing ...

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