Tackling Climate Change One Cloned Tree At A Time

One of the most precious natural resources is wood from sacred trees that can be hundreds of years old with dwindling numbers due to climate change. David Milarch founded an NGO called Archangel Ancient Tree Archive in 1994 started the mission to save the world’s oldest trees using cloning technology. 

Milarch works to clone the world’s most ancient trees, mostly redwoods and giant sequoias that are 2,000 to 4,000 years old while studying the genetics of these ancient trees and working to plant them back in their native forest. The mission of this NGO is to reforest the Earth with trees that are resistant to global warming that can help combat climate change while ensuring the future population of trees.     

Though giant sequoia trees have survived thousands of years despite diseases and wildfire, these trees increasingly face the dangers of intense wildfires as a result of climate change with the potential to wipe out the population. Before2015, large sequoias were never incinerated and last year the destruction levels of these trees hit an unprecedented high in 2021 with 10% to 14% of75,000 trees being destroyed.      

One of the biggest members of the giant sequoia tree family known as General Sherman is believed to be the largest tree on Earth by volume and an independent study concluded this single tree can store approximately 86 years’ worth of one person’s carbon emissions. Milarch attests ancient trees have the capacity to absorb ten times more CO2 than an average tree and have the potential to reverse climate change.      

Archangel Ancient Tree Archive has found 130 different species of trees worldwide and 22 oak trees that are over 1,000 years old in Ireland. Milarch believes it’s possible to clone 5 million trees over four years using only a piece of an ancient healthy tree without interfering with the growth of ancient trees.    

 Milarch attests the success of their program went from 3% to97% utilizing foam cubes with hormones. The DNA of the most ancient and strongest trees is mixed with the goal of avoiding monoculture to promote diversity that helps these trees be resistant to diseases. The NGO finds the healthiest and largest native species in the country cooperating with labs worldwide with the possibility to create hundreds of millions of highly resistant native species but making a real difference could require billions of these trees.