A Giant Tree's Death Sparked the Conservation Movement 160 Years Ago

"Today marks the 160th anniversary of a seminal, but largely forgotten moment in the history of the conservation movement. On Monday, 27 June, 1853, a giant sequoia – one of the natural world's most awe-inspiring sights - was brought to the ground by a band of gold-rush speculators in Calaveras county, California."

"It had taken the men three weeks to cut through the base of the 300ft-tall, 1,244-year-old tree, but finally it fell to the forest floor.

A section of the bark from the "Mammoth Tree", as newspapers soon described it, had already been removed and was sent to San Francisco to be put on display. The species had only been "discovered" (local Native American tribes such as the Miwok had known of the trees for centuries) that spring by a hunter who stumbled upon the pristine grove in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada whilst chasing an injured bear. Word of the discovery quickly spread."

Leo Hickman reports for the Guardian June 27, 2013.
 

Source: Guardian, 06/28/2013