Century-old sugar maples in Wisconsin. Five-hundred-year-old cedars in Oklahoma. Fifty-foot-wide oaks in Georgia. These trees grace our nation’s old-growth forests, and scientists say they hold unexplored mysteries from their roots to their rings.
In an effort to steward these resources, on Earth Day 2022 the Biden Administration called upon the Department of Agriculture and the Bureau of Land Management to define and map such forests on federal lands. A year later, that work has yielded a first-ever national inventory of mature and old-growth forests—broadly characterized as forests at an advanced stage of development. And with some help from NASA, the public will soon be able view some of these forests like never before.