Nightly News   |  February 07, 2013

Can Redwood clones reverse years of logging?

For years, the tallest trees in the world have been cut down – its population decimated. Today, only a small fraction of the majestic trees remain, many of them protected in national parks. But a scientist is hoping to regrow the Redwoods, and reverse some of the damage. NBC’s Kristen Dahlgren reports.

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>>> finally tonight, they have been around since the days of the roman empire . the redwood forests are right there in that song about this land. but after years of logging and cutting, our giant red woods are facing tough times. but a man with a plan is getting in the game to help. his story tonight from nbc's kristen dahlgren.

>> reporter: towering above the ground for thousands of years, the giant redwoods were no match for man. split and sawed for timber, fewer than 5% of the genital giants are still standing. the oldest and biggest were taken first. at 30 feet across, this stump is wider than any tree living today. it once stood 40 stories tall. but over 150 years after it was chopped down, take a look. new growth. what they're now turning into a new generation.

>> what this tree has, it holds potential to be as big as its parents.

>> reporter: cloning the largest trees that ever lived.

>> this one is perfect. kept saying, it's impossible, can't be done. we didn't listen.

>> reporter: david founded the arc angel ancient tree air kinds of. his mission, to reverse climate change by recreating the old growth forest, including redwoods and sequoias. after years of trial and error , his dream defied the experts and took root.

>> from this size to that size in about two weeks.

>> reporter: his lab is crowded with tiny clones, made of genetic material, gathered from those last stumps where the tops of some of the tallest tree is left. the samples are carefully cut and shipped, mixed in a secret solution of growth hormone , and along the oregon coastline, lovingly returned to the soil. so this little guy goes where?

>> he's going to be stretching for 300 feet.

>> reporter: that could take hundreds of years.

>> the hope that this project gives the world is that we could take these trees and bring them back to life, and you can be a part of the solution.

>> reporter: and in this area once clear-cut by a power company , he says you can already see the future. kristen dahlgren, nbc news, oregon.