MISSOULA, Mont., April 16, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Wildfire, insect infestation, disease, and severe weather have degraded hundreds of thousands of acres of National Forest land nationwide. The damage has destroyed wildlife habitat, impaired watersheds, stressed drinking water sources, degraded places people recreate, and compromised the ability of our forests to absorb and store carbon.
As a result, dozens of National Forests urgently need active reforestation. The National Forest Foundation (NFF), a private nonprofit organization, is working closely with the U.S. Forest Service to restore lost forest cover, with far reaching benefits for watersheds, wildlife, climate, recreation, and more.
"From the Sierra Nevada's conifer slopes to grizzly habitat in Montana to a favorite family campground in the Appalachians, the places we are restoring matter deeply to Americans," said Ray A. Foote, NFF executive vice president. "The groundswell of enthusiasm for planting trees -- from major U.S. companies to school groups and individual citizens in every state – is inspiring. These partners are enabling us to meet an urgent need today. They're also doing something with impact for generations."
The NFF's accelerating efforts add to the success of its early stages in a campaign to plant 50 million trees on National Forests. Last year, the NFF planted 2.6 million trees to kick off this multi-year initiative. In 2019, the organization will nearly double its previous record.
The Forest Service estimates more than one million acres need reforestation now. The NFF is the only organization in America whose reforestation work is dedicated solely to National Forest lands.
The NFF coordinates with the Forest Service to select high priority reforestation projects, planting only native, ecologically appropriate tree species. "Every project is different," added Foote. "In the Midwest, we come in after blowdown events and deadly infestations. In the Southeast, our work boosts longleaf pine forests, a signature species of that region. In Arizona, NFF planting projects create forests more resilient to future fires. But what is not different is the high quality science, research, seed collection, and nursery work. Then, it is critical to plant the right seedlings in the right place at the right time."
Through its simple model of one-dollar-plants-a-tree, the campaign mobilizes businesses and individuals to concrete action. "We're inspired the by sustainability leadership of so many companies and small businesses that are demonstrating that our forests, and their future, matter," said Wes Swaffar, director of partnerships and reforestation. "Partnerships with companies as diverse as Caudalie (cosmetics), Busch (beer), and Lands' End (clothing) demonstrate the breadth of interests and approaches in this transformative effort. We invite every American company to join this campaign. Doing so provides environmental, social, economic, and health benefits."
In a single year, a typical tree can absorb and hold up to 11 pounds of carbon dioxide. Over 100 years, a single tree can sequester a half-ton, further underscoring the impact of the five million trees the NFF will plant in 2019 alone.
Learn how you can help the NFF plant 50 million trees at nationalforests.org/50million.
The National Forest Foundation promotes the enhancement and public enjoyment of our 193-million-acre National Forest System. By directly engaging Americans and leveraging private and public funding, the NFF improves forest health and Americans' outdoor experiences. The NFF's programs inform millions of Americans about the importance of these treasured public lands. Each year, the NFF restores fish and wildlife habitat, plants trees in areas affected by fires, insects and disease, improves recreational opportunities, and enables communities to steward their National Forests and Grasslands.
SOURCE National Forest Foundation