Our largest archive is currently located in Michigan and our first west coast archive in southern Oregon. To build these archives, we have collected DNA from trees for many year. So far we have worked in Europe, and throughout the US.
Our wish list of trees yet to collect spans the globe! There are roughly 100 species we’d like to archive and each continent is home to some. These are trees that we feel are most important to archive in living libraries and for reforestation to help restore planetary health through carbon sequestration and oxygenation.
If you are interested in helping to sponsor an archive, please contact us.
The collection process is twofold. Finding the trees is the first challenge and can take a lot of time and research. Harvesting is a delicate business but can often be the most thrilling thing we do!
The trees we target are typically the largest and oldest we can find and get permission to work on. With each tree nomination a process is followed. When we first learn of a potential tree candidate, there is a certain amount of data that is required for us to make an honest and accurate assessment of the tree’s viability in our work. First, a tree must be qualified through measuring. Once that information is received, our team then decides if it is a tree to be collected. When a tree is selected, we will then contact the owner. Our organization only collects and propagates a tree after we are granted permission to do so. We work with professional tree finders, by word of mouth, from big tree lists, and any other means to find the big old giants. Once we find a tree and have permission to collect from it, our collection process continues.
If you would like to submit a tree for consideration, first click on this link. It will take you to the American Forests website which explains more about big trees and answers questions like “how big is big” by tree by species. The site can also provide guidance for simple ways to measure trees. Once on their site, look to the items listed on the left for information about the trees and measuring.
Once we locate a desired tree, will evaluate the property and area to determine the best way to make a collection from the it. Most often we will climb trees to make collections. This does not harm the tree. Trained climbers ascend the trees using ropes and harnesses. Spikes are never used when climbing trees. If the tree is unable or unsafe to be climbed, we will consider using a bucket truck to take cuttings if the area allows for this. Taking cuttings from a tree does not harm it either. Climbers will cut several smaller branches from the tree using sterile cutters. We are searching for the young, new growth on the branches, often times at the tip top of the tree. We record data such as height and girth measurements, the tree’s specific location, and other information. We also take photos and often video for the record. The harvested material is then rushed to our propagation facility where the propagation process begins.