What makes a champion tree?

What makes a champion tree?

Check out some notable champs and learn how to nominate one.

Sidney Stevens

General Sherman is the biggest living thing on earth

General Sherman, located in Sequoia National Park, is the biggest living thing on Earth with a total volume of 52,500 cubic feet — more than half the volume of an Olympic-sized swimming pool. (Photo: Bryan Siders/flickr)

Champion trees are the super-sized superstars of their species. Blessed by a “perfect storm” of superb growing conditions, Teflon-like resilience to hazards and perhaps a bit of luck, these tree VIPs show what’s possible when everything goes just right in nature.

Around the world, efforts are ongoing to locate the largest trees of each species wherever they grow. In the United States, American Forests National Big Tree Program has maintained a national register of American champion trees since 1940, which currently lists over 750.

It may sound like work reserved for arboreal experts, but tracking down the planet’s biggest trees is actually a collective effort that anyone can join. Amateur tree buffs, citizen scientists and school kids alike are invited to locate and nominate potential champions to help honor the branchy giants among us. Read more.