The REPLANT Act would protect whitebark pine, a keystone high-elevation tree species
By Jad Daley, president and CEO of American Forests

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Melissa Jenkins, formerly with the U.S. Forest Service, inspects a whitebark pine tree in Montana.

You might have seen the alarming news that disease and climate change have so decimated whitebark pine that this iconic tree species is now proposed for inclusion on the federal Threatened and Endangered Species list. We can save the whitebark pine. And we must. This should start with one big policy move: passing the bipartisan REPLANT Act to accelerate replanting of whitebark pine on America’s national forests.

To understand the urgency of this solution, we must first understand the problem. You see, the whitebark pine is like many trees. It has evolved over millennia to thrive on mountain summits across the Western United States, from the Rockies and Cascades down through the Sierra Nevada. These trees are hardy. They survive and thrive in poor soils and harsh conditions that most trees would never withstand. …


It’s time to ensure that all people benefit from what trees offer to the world
By Jad Daley, President and CEO of American Forests

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Today marks a step toward climate justice. American Forests launched Tree Equity Score, the first-ever effort to map tree cover against such critical variables as race, age, income and heat risk in every urban area of the United States. Extreme heat, in particular, kills more people in our country each year than any other type of extreme weather does, and these risks are worsening rapidly with climate change.

Tree Equity Score shows where we are and aren’t sufficiently planting and caring for trees so they can equitably cool down urban neighborhoods. The dangerous disparities shown by Tree Equity Score challenge our nation to step up to create Tree Equity across our cities. Simply put, Tree Equity is about planting trees in the neighborhoods that need them the most so all people benefit from what trees offer to the world. …


The rules of the game have changed
By American Forests Vice President of Forest Restoration Eric Sprague

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Photo by Nikolay Zaborskikh/Shutterstock

Tree planting is often the most recognizable form of reforestation. But forests have their own way to recover after severe wildfires and other incidents that result in tree loss. It’s called natural regeneration. Wind and wildlife carry tree seeds to disturbed areas, where the seeds germinate and eventually grow a new forest. Oaks and some other trees can even resprout from their roots if the trunk dies, the fresh shoots taking advantage of newly opened habitat. Across the U.S., …


Trees are life-saving infrastructure
By Jad Daley, President and CEO of American Forests

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With 2020 on track to be the hottest year in recorded history, we get daily reminders of America’s greatest climate change threat: extreme heat. Extreme heat generally kills more people in our country each year than any other type of extreme weather, and sickens many times more. We must build heat resilient communities that equitably protect every neighborhood, including natural cooling from trees.

We are far from this goal today. Lower-income neighborhoods and communities of color are, on average, much hotter due to systemic inequities that include lack of trees. These risks are magnified in lower income neighborhoods where many families are among the 13 percent of U.S. households that do not have air conditioning, or struggle with energy costs. …


Federal legislation would quadruple funding to reforest America
By Jad Daley, President & CEO of American Forests

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At this perilous moment in our history, America’s public lands can drive the economic recovery and environmental renewal we so urgently need. The REPLANT Act, introduced today by a bipartisan coalition in Congress, will play a pivotal role in capturing this opportunity. This landmark legislation will enable the U.S. Forest Service to dramatically increase the pace of reforesting America’s 193 million acres of national forests — providing enough funding to regenerate 1.2 …


Plant the right tree in the right place, using the right techniques for climate resilience.
By Jad Daley, President & CEO of American Forests

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First part of the recipe is choosing the right trees to plant, such as these disease-resistant whitbark pine trees (growing in an Idaho nursery). Photo credit: U.S. Forest Service

The surging excitement around the world about using trees to help solve climate change has converged on the visionary goal of one trillion trees globally by 2030.

But this movement is now tinged with nervousness in some circles. New research and reporting, focused on a few poorly conceived reforestation projects, has raised questions about the ability to responsibly reforest billions more trees each year in ways that will be ecologically appropriate and climate resilient.

If your confidence has been shaken, here’s some good news. The forest community has the recipe for reforestation done right, and we are now positioned to share it with everyone doing this work through a powerful new partnership platform for the trillion trees movement, called 1t.org. …


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By Jad Daley, President and CEO of American Forests

Do you love the Appalachian forests? The U.S. Senate is expected to vote this week on legislation that would double funding for purchasing — from willing sellers — land that can be added to our Appalachian national forests and other priceless public landscapes. With more than 30 percent of private land around many Appalachian national forests and other public land at risk of development, the Great American Outdoors Act is a now or never opportunity to conserve our Appalachian natural heritage.

We have come a long way in conserving our Appalachian forests. In 1901, U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary James Wilson led a federal study on the state of Appalachian forests that found these lands so depleted that they threatened the region’s water supplies with silt and runoff. The report caused such alarm that it was published by President Theodore Roosevelt as a “Message from the President”. …


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New global reforestation movement takes off
By Jad Daley, President & CEO of American Forests

Arbor Day 2020 arrives as America is living through a public health crisis unparalleled in the last century. The combined loss of life, employment and even simple free movement are felt deeply across our nation. In the face of such a profound national crisis, it might seem logical to skip our annual day of celebration for America’s trees and forests.

But America has a proud history of rally, not retreat, in the face of our greatest challenges. That is why I believe we need to use this Arbor Day to embrace trees as a symbol of our national resolve and hope for the future. …


By Jad Daley, President & CEO of American Forests

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The global momentum behind the vision to plant a trillion trees is fueling unprecedented interest in forests as a climate change solution. But this increased interest has brought increased scrutiny. Can forests capture enough carbon to make a meaningful contribution? Will we lose this stored carbon to wildfires? Does harvesting timber help or hurt our forest carbon sink?

These five truths, grounded in science, can provide a common foundation for the public and decision-makers to shape America’s efforts on forests and climate change.

1. America’s forests are already providing a climate solution.

America’s forests have provided a large net carbon sink for decades. According to the U.S. EPA Greenhouse Gas inventory, U.S. forests and forest products sequestered more than 730 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalents in 2019 — equal to almost 15 percent of U.S. carbon emissions from burning fossil fuels. The upshot? Our forests are already a proven climate solution, and we need to sustain those actions in our forests that are helping to produce these strong results. …


By Jad Daley, President and CEO of American Forests

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The buzz keeps growing about planting 1 trillion trees to slow climate change, sparked by a landmark study from Crowther Lab making the case for this natural climate solutions moon shot. Now the White House is on board, with their announcement at the World Economic Forum this morning that the United States will support a new initiative to plant 1 trillion trees worldwide. Here’s the big question: Can it be done?

At American Forests, we say, “Yes, if…”

Yes, if countries around the world simultaneously ramp up public and private investment to moon shot levels, while empowering every organization and individual to help. America, with our ample wealth and open spaces, must provide a big wedge of the trees needed. …

About

American Forests

American Forests inspires and advances the restoration of forests, which are essential to life.

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