In 1991, David Milarch, an arborist from Michigan had a near-death experience that inspired a personal quest. When Milarch came back to life, he launched an ambitious project to clone and replant the world’s largest trees. He co-founded the Archangel Ancient Tree Archive (AATA) to continue working towards his vision of replanting the earth with the genetics of the world’s remaining ancient redwood forests.
In 1850, old-growth redwood forests covered more than 2,000,000 acres of the California coast. Now, 98% of old growth forests in the US are cut down and 96% of all coastal redwoods are cut down. AATA believes that the genetics of these ancient trees are important and essential for this planet to thrive.
AATA’s mission is to propagate the world’s oldest, most important old growth trees before they are gone. Then to reforest the Earth with the offspring of these trees to provide beneficial ecosystem services essential for all life forms to thrive. Finally, they aim to archive the genetics of ancient trees in living libraries around the world for the future.
According to Milarch, the largest living coast redwood is about 20 to 22 feet in diameter and the largest tree on Earth, the giant sequoia known as General Sherman, is about 25.1 feet in diameter. By cloning these old-growth trees, it gives AATA the ability to study the genetics of those impressive trees and learn how these trees grew to be three times the size of a normal coast redwood – and to grow many more of them all over the world.
Through AATA, Milarch has proven that we can fix the destruction and we reestablish and rebuild the old growth forest that we’ve lost. AATA has shown that it’s possible to help Mother Nature, to work with Mother Nature and to not destroy Mother Nature.
AATA’s operations are now expanding to include more propagation facilities, outreach programs and tree planting efforts all over the world.