National Geographic : 2009 Oct
EDITOR'S NOTE PHOTO: MICHAEL NICHOLS, NG STAFF Lying on a soft, damp forest floor, looking up and oblivious of time, I'm in one of the most magical places on Earth, Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park in northern California. I can hear the panic in my mother's voice as she searches for me---her ten-year-old who has a habit of disappearing in the woods. I should shout out to put her at ease, but not just yet. I want a few more minutes of solitude with the tallest trees I've ever seen. Six years later, I'm lying on a hard, dusty plywood floor in a house under construction. It's lunchtime on my summer job; I'm resting with my fellow carpenters and looking up at a new redwood ceiling. The beams and boards are stunning, a perfect illustration of why this wood is so coveted and why so many redwood forests are leveled. In this month's issue you'll meet others who share my fascination with redwoods. Biologist Mike Fay and his hiking partner, Lindsey Holm, spent a year walking and studying the redwood ecosystem from south to north. Joel Bourne writes about their journey and examines the controversies surrounding redwoods, trees with which National Geographic has had a long association. "California revolutionized the world with the silicon chip," says Fay. "They could do the same with forest management." Could it be that Fay, who's spent decades advocating for African forests, has found the solution to management in the very state he calls home? We hope so. Fog blurs the treetops in the Lady Bird Johnson Grove of Cali- fornia's Redwood National Park.