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A terrible fire devastated California's Big Basin Redwoods State Park in August of 2020. The fire, which was started by lightning, caused unprecedented damage to the old trees. In its place stood massive blackened trunks in what had once been a verdant forest. Scientists were worried that this could spell the end for these trees as we know them.

However, months later, when the researchers revisited the area, they found that the bereft trees had grown buds hidden beneath their bark by using long-stored energy. The redwood trees' tenacity is exemplified by these green sprouts. Many seasoned scientists have been surprised by the research, which was just published in Nature Plants.

The redwoods lost their energy source when they lost their foliage to the unusually high flames of the fire. In order to photosynthesise into sugars and carbohydrates, which the plant uses for growth or stores for later use, the trees need sunlight. Melissa Enright of the U.S. Forest Service, one of the paper authors, decided to wrap 60 burnt tree trunks in black plastic to prevent them from using new light. The trees turned toward their inner reserves as a result.

Gradually, green shoots appeared from the bark, though they were still small in comparison to the leaves and branches that had burned away. According to radiocarbon testing, these sprouts grew from energy that the tree had produced and stored for up to 21 years before the fire. The buds that were hidden within the trees used the energy. Scientists have discovered that these buds can lie dormant for a very long time and form inside the tree as it grows. The fire may have caused sprouts that could be up to 1,000 years old, considering that coastal redwoods can live for over two millennia. 

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