Archangel Ancient Tree Archive has created 75 ancient Redwood tree clones using Redwood stumps as old as 3,000 years. Founded in 1994, the California nonprofit group managed to create a tree embryo, then raise it for 2.5 years, before planting it in the Presidio forest refuge near San Francisco in December 2018.
The group’s stated mission is to reforest vulnerable ecosystems with a living archive of ancient tree specimens, thereby preserving and restoring some of the diversity of “old growth” forests and sequestering more carbon.
Maintaining and increasing biodiversity is and will remain one of the most important efforts to combat and reverse climate change and stave ecosystem decline worldwide. Planting ancient tree species in forests vulnerable to climate change and suffering from biodiversity loss could sequester more carbon and increase ecosystem resilience. The question is what ramifications civil society taking bio-engineering, specifically cloning, into their own hands might incur? Beyond the obvious benefits of maintaining a living archive of ancient trees, could cloning and reintroduction of species perturb ecosystems in unforeseen ways? Furthermore, who will we decide who gets to clone and introduce which species, and how will the propagation of such species be managed?