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In a world of wood, why 12 particular trees really matter

The camera is at the base of a California redwood tree, looking straight up. The trunk disappears into the sky, shrouded by numerous branches and green leaves.
Roman Battaglia
Jefferson Public Radio
One of the two coastal redwood trees in Lithia Park, April 19, 2023. This type of redwood is native to the Northern California coast and a small part of southwest Oregon

Do you have a favorite tree? Or could you even name a dozen that are the most important to the world?

That's the task environmental historian Daniel Lewis took up, in search of stories about trees of critical importance to the world (hint: they are not all alive today). His list and the supporting argument for including each tree appears in Lewis's book Twelve Trees: The Deep Roots of Our Future.

Redwoods and California's ancient bristlecone pine made the list. The author visits to talk about the stories of the trees, and the larger stories they tell about the environment and our use of it.

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The Jefferson Exchange is Jefferson Public Radio's daily news program focused on issues, people and events across Southern Oregon and Northern California. Angela Decker is the program's senior producer, Charlie Zimmermann is the assistant producer, and Geoffrey Riley hosts the show.