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American Forests Unveils 733 National Champion Trees for 2010

175 new champions make the 70th anniversary National Register of Big Trees

Washington, DC - American Forests' National Register of Big Trees marks its 70th anniversary this year with a total of 733 champion and co-champion trees from 637 native and naturalized tree species in the United States. Presented in a new online format, the 2010 edition also features a revised list of eligible species, ensuring consistency with today's taxonomy and nomenclature for trees.

"Our largest trees are impressive and special in their own right," said American Forests' Acting Executive Director Gerry Gray. "We hope this recognition brings protection and appreciation to these special trees, as it reminds us that large trees cannot thrive without healthy ecosystems."

The National Register is updated bi-annually by American Forests, the nation's oldest citizens' conservation group, and sponsored by The Davey Tree Expert Company. American Forests relies on participation from the public to find and nominate champion trees, which receive a point total based on their height, circumference, and ¼ of their crown spread. State coordinators verify the nominations and conduct a variety of education and outreach programs to complement and extend the national program.

At the top of the 2010 list remains Sequoia National Park's "General Sherman" giant sequoia - not only the Register's highest scoring tree with 1,321 points, but Earth's largest living thing and one of only three perennial champs since the first Register in 1940. While all but one of the 15 biggest species in the country have held their rankings since the last Register, this year saw the crowning of 175 new champions or co-champions, while 164 were dethroned.

The 2010 Register also ushers in a new smallest Big Tree: a yellow anise-tree in Marion County, Florida with 29 points; five feet taller, but slightly skinnier and with a crown spread one-third narrower than the previous smallest champion, the Geyer willow.

Among other notable changes: The famous Seven Sisters Oak of Louisiana - the only champion with a crown twice as wide as the tree is tall - reclaimed its champion title with a growth of 43 points.

Florida has regained its ranking of most national champions with 99, while Arizona fell to number two with 91 champions, followed by Texas (77), California (73), and Virginia (68). Maryland, with 23 champs, continues to show that you don't have to be a big state to have a lot of big trees, and the discovery of a champion Virginia Pine in Sussex County puts Delaware back in the National Register.

With the addition of newly recognized species, including many oaks and hawthorns - along with some long empty thrones - 221 species are currently without national champions, as are the states of North Dakota, Oklahoma, Wyoming, and Rhode Island. Individuals are encouraged to go out and nominate a champion.

The 2010 National Register of Big Trees is available online, complete with all the facts and additional interesting trivia about the champs, as well as instructions for measuring and nominating a champion tree.

For more information see Whit Bronaugh's Big Tree Roundup - and an article featuring five state coordinators - in the spring issue of American Forests magazine. Members of American Forests receive a subscription to our award-winning quarterly flagship publication which also reports the latest Big Tree news.

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AMERICAN FORESTS has been an influential voice for conservation and the environment since its founding in 1875. Today the nation's oldest nonprofit conservation organization works with individuals, communities, and policy makers to protect and restore forest ecosystems. Its Global ReLeaf campaign will plant 5 million trees this year toward its goal to plant 100 million trees by 2020. Headquartered in Washington, the organization is online at www.americanforests.org and publishes the quarterly magazine, American Forests and the monthly e-newsletter, Forestbytes.

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