The Gifted Tree has been planting tens of thousands of gift trees since 2013 making it is easy to forget that not everyone understands exactly what a gift tree is. The fact is we get a number of customers contacting us to ask exactly that question: What is a gift tree? We figured that if several of you are calling or chatting asking about it every week, there probably are many more out there with that same question. Thus, this blog will answer that question along with related questions that have been asked over the years.
In a nutshell, a gift tree is a sapling tree that will be planted in the forest location of your choosing. While a gift tree is a meaningful way to honor or celebrate people and pets, a physical tree is not delivered. Instead, one chooses one of The Gifted Tree’s unique card tributes or animated eCards to send, that is personalized with your custom message announcing the planting and notifying the recipient of your gift. A gift tree is a way to create a lasting, living legacy while at the same time helping combat the effects of forest fires and climate change. The ultimate “green” gift, giving the world a gift, too.
Sapling versus seedling
Many of us use those terms interchangeably and in reality, there is not much difference. I like to say a sapling is a slightly more mature seedling, just like an toddler is to a newborn baby. Technically, a seedling is the young plant arising newly from the seed. It is the first stage of the growth cycle of a tree. Hence, the seedling is very tender and succulent. It has very small leaves attached and is very vulnerable to animals such as deer. A sapling, on the other hand, is a young tree that is less than one year old. It is the stage following the seedling stage. Saplings have little trunks of 1 to 6 inches in diameter and have more adult looking leaves. Similar to a seedling, a sapling is also a juvenile life stage of a tree. A sapling can originate from a seed, or through a vegetative part such as cutting.
As was gone into in-depth in a previous blog, https://www.thegiftedtree.com/reforestation-how-to-reforest-after-a-forest-fire/, your gift tree planted by The Gifted Tree starts out as a seed, but is planted as a sapling. These seeds were collected from the area where these seeds turned saplings will eventually be planted, usually a year or so later after having been nurtured in a nursery through the seedling to sapling stage. The reason for this is the sapling grown from the seeds have an extremely high survival rate because they are genetically ready for the climate, altitude and soil conditions of the area.
In summary, seedlings and saplings are two juvenile growth stages of a plant that will ultimately become a mature tree. Your gift tree from The Gifted Tree is a sapling because quite simply, it is best suited for long-term survivability and able to endure for generations to come.
Most popular gift tree reason
The most popular gift tree reason is planting a memorial tree in memory of a loved one or for someone close to you that has lost a loved one. A memorial tree not only can honor a person, but is a meaningful way to memorialize a loyal and faithful pet. A memorial tree is an epic tribute to a life well lived, and not only aids in the reforestation of areas ravaged by forest fire, disease or climate change, it also helps provide comfort to an individual or family at a time of grieving.
And also remember, planting a gift tree is an ideal way to celebrate life events, birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, teachers, employee recognition, new births, graduations and holidays. A gift tree fits every occasion – helping you connect on a personal level with someone important to you and acknowledge these important milestones.
More Gift Tree FAQs specific to The Gifted Tree
Where is the gif tree planted?
The gift tree is planted in the forest location of your choosing. Unlike other gift tree businesses, The Gifted Tree plants trees around the world, not just in the United States. While there are numerous national and state forest locations to choose from in the U.S., you also can choose from 30+ other planting locations worldwide. No matter the planting location you finally select, the tree is planted by one of our trusted non-profit planting partners and will help combat the effects of forest fires, disease and climate change. There is also an educational component to the gift tree plantings, especially those planted in developing nations. Not only are we planting trees in these regions, but farmers are also being trained in best tree planting methods, nursery preparation, farm conservation and finance, and irrigation management. Most of these individuals have no prior knowledge of proper land management techniques, but this training will be a significant factor in the fight against deforestation. They also learn methods and techniques to protect trees to withstand local climatic conditions and thus help to ensure the newly planted trees’ long-term survival.
Are gift trees marked with plaques?
Unfortunately, this is not possible. Your tree is planted among thousands of other gift trees and there is no plaque designating your gift tree, but an official register is maintained in our office. Take comfort in the knowledge that while your gift tree is not designated on the ground with a plaque, it does become part of the much larger forest ecosystem.
Can I specify the species of gift tree to be planted?
While the types of trees planted at a particular project are listed in the planting location details on our website, you are not able to designate the type of tree to plant. We leave it up to the professionals on site to determine the best tree to plant to achieve the project’s goals. Silviculturists (scientists who study how to grow trees) decide on the type of tree that will grow best in an area, and the best time of year to plant. The objectives of the silvicultural prescriptions for planting sites include the reintroduction of tree species that were originally in that particular ecosystem in order to improve the resilience and resistance of the forest to fire, insects, diseases, and the potential effects of climate change.
Can I visit the gift tree I have planted?
Unfortunately, since the trees are not marked and can be in very remote locations, some dangerous to get to, it is not possible to visit your tree. It is possible, however, to visit the general tree planting location virtually on your computer. Information is included in the gift packet along with the certificate with all the details.
When will the gift tree be planted?
The gift tree will be planted at the best suitable planting time for each project, which is typically in the location’s spring or fall. Therefore, depending on when your gift tree was purchased, there could be a gap of time until it is actually planted. This is being done to ensure the long-term survival of the trees as well as to accomplish the goals of the project.
Now that you understand what a gift tree is, whether the gift tree is planted in memory of a lost loved one, or to celebrate a happy life event, know that a lot of scientific thought went into the planting, ensuring that your gift tree will have a lasting impact and be a gift to the earth as well.
https://www.thegiftedtree.com/wp-content/uploads/Growing-Sprout-reduced.jpg332500Doug Bellhttps://www.thegiftedtree.com/wp-content/uploads/TGT-logo-header.pngDoug Bell2020-10-30 12:00:412020-11-10 15:41:39What is a Gift Tree?
As if the COVID-9 pandemic is not enough, a record number of forest fires have occurred in California this summer. It is hard to pick up a newspaper these days, or turn on the television news, without reading about one of the 30+ fires devastating the state. Millions of acres of forest growth have burned to the ground, homes and other structures destroyed and the saddest part, human lives have been lost. And this epic year for wildfires has occurred BEFORE the typical forest fire season of October and November even starts. As California governor Gavin Newsom has stated, “This is a challenging year. It is historic in terms of magnitude, scope and consequence.”
With the acreage size of the fires burning being larger than some states in the northeast U.S. we at The Gifted Tree keep getting this type of question: What are the forces driving this record fire year? Fire experts say it’s not one thing causing the shocking series of infernos. “It’s a perfect storm of factors that have all come together,” said Jon Keeley, a research scientist with the U.S. Geological Survey at Sequoia National Park. We thought it would be educational to take a brief oversight of the factors that are contributing to this unprecedented string of wildfires.
One of the difficulties when it comes to mitigating wildfires in California is that, in recent decades, an increasing amount of the state is vulnerable. As the NY Times reported, “the engineering and land management that enabled the state’s tremendous growth have left it more vulnerable to climate shocks. While California is one of America’s marvels, by moving vast quantities of water and suppressing wildfires for decades, the state has transformed its arid and mountainous landscape into the richest, most populous and bounteous place in the nation. But that growth comes with a prices.
It’s counter intuitive, but the U.S.’s history of suppressing wildfires has actually made present-day wildfires worse. According to Park Williams, a bioclimatologist at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, “For the last century we fought fire, and we did pretty well at it across all of the Western United States. And every time we fought a fire successfully, that means that a bunch of stuff that would have burned didn’t burn. And so over the last hundred years we’ve had an accumulation of plants in a lot of areas. And so in a lot of California now when fires start, those fires are burning through places that have a lot more plants to burn than they would have if we had been allowing fires to burn for the last hundred years.” This legacy of fire suppression and lack of good forest stewardship has led to a growth of highly flammable shrubs and bushes, a huge buildup of fuels and debris.
As the New York Times reports, in an effort to protect homes and encourage new building, governments for decades focused on suppressing fires that occurred naturally, allowing the buildup of vegetation that would provide fuel for future blazes. Even after the drawbacks of that approach became clear, officials remained reluctant to reduce that vegetation through prescribed burns, wary of upsetting residents with smoke or starting a fire that might burn out of control.That approach made California’s forests more comfortable for the estimated 11 million people who now live in and around them. But it has also made them more susceptible to catastrophic fires.
Climate change creating heat waves
In recent years, California’s climate has gotten hotter and drier. This combination of conditions mean less snowpack in the Sierras, less runoff in the spring, and less moisture for vegetation. These conditions have made it especially easy for massive wildland fires to ignite and quickly burn through parched vegetation. According to the NY Times, nine of the 10 largest fires in the state’s history have occurred in the past ten years, and it’s no coincidence that nine of the ten hottest years on record have happened since 2000. In August, while it is still being evaluated, Death Valley in Southern California possibly reached the highest temperature ever reliably recorded on earth. Last Labor Day Weekend brought one of California’s hottest periods ever observed. Extreme heat means drier vegetation, and more difficulty putting out fires.
The effects of the greenhouse gases humans produce underlie everything that occurs in the atmosphere, and the tendency of climate change to make dry places drier over time is a warning of a fiery future. And the state’s fire season has gotten considerably longer, too, extending up to 75 days, in some cases. In reality, “fire season” is a remnant of cooler world. “It just gets harder to predict,” Faith Kearns, of the University of California Institute for Water Resources in Oakland, told National Geographic. “We used to have a much more reliable rainy season and fire season, and a lot of variables are just shifting at the moment.”
Unusual Weather Conditions
A dry winter last year is a contributing factor. Snowpack in the mountains was very low and actual rainfall was at or below normal. When California has dry winters, moisture levels dry up earlier in the summer in grasses, shrubs and trees. Fires start more easily and spread faster. Furthermore, this historic stretch of drought has caused millions of dead trees. The drought leaves a legacy on the landscape of fire fuel that persists for many years, even after the drought is over.
Additionally, in mid-August, a series of freak summer storms blasted California with more than 14,000 lightning strikes and almost no rain. More than one-third of all the acres that have burned this year came from that lightning. And don’t forget about the Santa Sana winds which run from October through April. These strong gusts, which bring dry air into Southern California tend to spread fires even faster than what we are experiencing now, and burn closer to urban areas, moving embers and spreading fires.
While lightening strikes have started many of the forest fires in August, more often than not, humans are responsible for igniting the fires. “California has a lot of people and a really long dry season,” Williams said. “People are always creating possible sparks, and as the dry season wears on and stuff is drying out more and more, the chance that a spark comes off a person at the wrong time just goes up. And that’s putting aside arson.”
There’s another way people have contributed to wildfires: in their choices of where to live. People are increasingly moving into areas near forests, known as the urban-wildland interface, that are inclined to burn. Thus, California’s large population and the need to inhabit more fire prone areas means that when disasters do strike, they affect large numbers of people and property.
Needless to say, the wildfire situation in California is complex, one which does not produce simple, easy answers. While climate change is certainly a major factor in the increase in California wildfires, ultimately, determining the links between any individual fire and climate change takes time and analysis. But the effects of the greenhouse gases humans produce underlie everything that occurs in the atmosphere, and the tendency of climate change to make dry places drier over time is a warning to the West of a fiery future.
Some possible solutions? More forest thinning, better building codes, more renewable energy, a more robust power grid, experts say. Some suggest the state needs to rethink the way it fights fires, from response to planning, which would take the entire restructuring of a system. Prescribed burns and forest-thinning are, again, options to protect some communities from wildfires. “Technically, we have all the tools to do this,” UC Berkeley forest ecologist and climate change scientist Patrick Gonzalez says. “The more that people realize that proactive fire management can avoid the catastrophic wildfires … the more people hopefully will favor proactive fire management.”
But the reality is any and every action California is taking so far is incremental. Park Williams, a climate scientist at Columbia’s Lamont–Doherty Earth Observatory in New York stresses, “No matter how hard we try, the fires are going to keep getting bigger, and the reason is really clear, climate is really running the show. Fundamentally, the main solution to a lot of the fire problems that we have [is] taking action on climate change. To be carbon-free is the ultimate end goal, and the sooner we reach that, the better it will be for nature and for people.”
In the short term? Be careful with fire. Understand how to reforest areas after devastating wildfires. Plant more trees in California (The Gifted Tree has a number of planting projects) and other areas in the United States in a smart way to help regrow the areas lost to wildfires. And pray for rain.
https://www.thegiftedtree.com/wp-content/uploads/dreamstime-September-Smushed.jpg600900Doug Bellhttps://www.thegiftedtree.com/wp-content/uploads/TGT-logo-header.pngDoug Bell2020-09-29 11:19:382020-10-09 11:16:37Why Does California Have So Many Wildfires?