FritzRedwoods grow quickly, but live for centuries, which makes tracking their life history a long-term project. But in a remote 1-acre plot in southern Mendocino county, exactly such a project has been underway since the early 1920s.

plotrestClear-cutting of redwood forests was already widespread by the 1920s. It was on such a denuded plain that UC Berkeley forester Emanual Fritz established his "Wonder Plot," explains Cooperative Extension advisor Greg Giusti, which is a big part of the reason that one-acre site differs from untouched old growth forests elsewhere.

At left, Greg Giusti leans agains a tree with researchers taking a break from measuring the trees in the Wonder Plot in August, 2005.

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