Grove of Red Spruce near Spring Lake, Monongahela National Forest. Credit: Famartin/wikimedia

About the Lambert Run ReLeaf Project:

American Forests and the U.S. Forest Service are reforesting up to 175 acres of Monongahela National Forest with red spruce, big-toothed aspen and other native species to help mitigate the effects of climate change. The forest supports a variety of wildlife, including Cheat Mountain salamander, West Virginia northern flying squirrel, ruffed grouse, snowshoe hare and woodcock, which will also benefit from the planting.

Global ReLeaf provides forests like this — and the communities that depend on them — with the restoration they need to thrive. Since 1990, American Forests has brought ReLeaf to forests in all 50 states and 45 countries, planting more than 45 million trees in the process.

ReLeaf Location:

Monongahela National Forest, WV

Key ReLeaf Activities:

  • Planting 55,000 trees across 175 acres
  • Adapting the local ecosystem to climate change while sequestering carbon
  • Protecting red spruce habitat

Why This ReLeaf Project?

Ecological restoration on 2,600 acres of the Lambert watershed through the planting of native species along the Central Appalachian Mountains has been proposed. Watershed improvement activities, including road decommissioning and wetland restoration, are ongoing. This project also adds to carbon sequestration and touches on the concept of ecosystem services. Tree planting aids carbon sequestration both above and below ground, given the unique soils that develop beneath the red spruce ecosystem.

Why the Mower Tract?

This tract of land was mined for coal before being reclaimed and added into the Monongahela National Forest. Reclamation by law required the mining company to return the site to approximate original contour, and to control erosion and sediment. However, compacted soils and a non-native grass mat have prevented native species recolonization, and very few trees successfully seeded into the area. This state is known as “arrested succession” and can only be remedied with restorative intervention. This region serves as the headwaters for clean drinking water to millions both in the Ohio River Valley as well as in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area.

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