Archangel Ancient Tree Archive

Man walking In The Redwoods

David Milarch leads Archangel Ancient Tree Archive towards his vision of replanting Earth with the genetics of the world’s remaining ancient forests. A third generation nurseryman with over 40 years of experience in propagation and reforestation, David tells us that 98% of old growth forests in the United States are gone, with only 2% of our “life savings” left. 

The mission of Archangel Ancient Tree Archive is to propagate, reforest and archive:

  • To propagate the world’s most important old growth trees before they are gone;
  • To reforest Earth with the offspring of these trees to provide the myriad of beneficial ecosystem services essential for all life forms to thrive. Trees are excellent at sequestering carbon dioxide, releasing oxygen, and providing beneficial aerosols and medicines; they are essentially a global warming solution;
  • To archive the genetics of ancient trees in living libraries around the world for the future.

“David is propagating trees from the giant sequoias. His work becomes more important every year we lose grandparent trees in forest fires.” — Lucy Bowers-Wildblood

While Archangel does embrace traditional horticulture techniques, some of the techniques developed by their team of horticulture and botany experts use ways to propagate the cuttings of these trees, which traditional science said was not possible for ancient trees. To plant the saplings, they work with diverse groups, such as conservation districts, Native Americans, and even Eagle Scouts and local people interested in enhancing and protecting the environment where they live.

Archangel has created living archives in many areas in the world, including in their home state of Michigan, as well as partnering with groups that have trust properties, which accept their trees, ensuring that the hard work expended to capture these tree genetics will live on for generations to come.

Even though great strides have been made, there is still much to do. With over eight thousand tree species on the endangered species list, and our world in such ecological peril, we cannot rest until we are able to re-plant tens of millions of these important trees globally.

Archangel Ancient Tree Archive is a non-profit organization that is creating living libraries of old-growth tree genetics by archiving and cloning.

This article first appeared in The Journal of Medicinal Plant Conservation 2021. Reprinted courtesy United Plant Savers, whose mission is to protect native medicinal plants of the United States and Canada and their native habitat while ensuring an abundant renewable supply of medicinal plants for generations to come.