New Mexico’s champion trees retain crowns
Taos’ prize-winning tree didn’t let us down this year. A Goodding black willow that’s among the biggest trees in the United States has kept its place in the annual 2018 Champion Trees National Register, which lists “the largest and most impressive trees of their kind.”
Taos’ willow stands 110 feet tall, has a sprawling crown of more than 94 feet and measures 351 inches in circumference. It was nominated by local arborist Paul Bryan Jones in 2010.
“When the black willow tree was designated the state champion, I knew our unique high desert plateau was and is resilient for trees,” Jones said in a 2017 interview with The Taos News. “I started hunting for more big trees. We have some of the largest, oldest trees species in the Southwest.”
“Big tree hunters from across the country doubled down and found an almost unprecedented number of new champions – more than 170 – to add to the list of America’s giants,” read a press release from American Forests, a Washington, D.C.based organization.
Keeping big trees healthy is an important part of addressing climate change. As Eliza Kretzmann, the Big Tree Program coordinator, explained: “Large-diameter trees make up about half of the mature forest biomass across the world. The amount of carbon that forests can sequester depends mostly on the abundance of large trees. Thus, big trees represent potentially large controls on carbon cycling worldwide.”
This Goodding black willow in Taos is one of the largest trees of its species in the country.