Forests for Fifty:
Restoring Forest Ecosystems
Over the years, forests have faced an increasing number of threats: fire, drought, storms, climate change, disease, insects, excessive logging, clearing for agriculture and urban development. Many native forest ecosystems are under threat:
Longleaf pine was once the dominate ecosystem in the Southeast. By the mid 1990s, that species barely covered 2.5 million acres. As one of the most important ecosystems for a variety of wildlife and plants, the reforestation of longleaf pine in America’s southeast is imperative.
- Whitebark pine is a keystone species in America’s intermountain west, but it is dying at rapid rates due to the blister rust pathogen and an unprecedented infestation of mountain pine beetles. These ecosystems directly impact the Colorado River Basin, which provides water to many southwestern states including the rich agricultural fields of California that grow much of the nation’s produce.
Throughout 2011 and 2012, American Forests will be planting trees in all 50 states through our Forests for Fifty campaign. Many of these reforestation efforts, including the ones below, restore damaged forest ecosystems. Other projects involve protecting wildlife habitat, educating the public and supporting urban forests. For more on threats to forests, head over to our Forest Threats page.
Forest Ecosystem Projects
Working with the Oakmulgee Ranger District of the Talladega National Forest and the National Wild Turkey Federation, we will be planting longleaf pine within the Big Sandy Watershed.
The Schultz Fire in 2010 burned more than 15,000 acres near Flagstaff, Arizona, and we are partnering with the National Wild Turkey Federation to plant ponderosa pine to help restore this ecosystem.
A 2007 fire burned more than 300,000 acres in Georgia and Florida. Through our work with the USDA Forest Service, we will be planting longleaf pine in affected areas in Osceola National Forest.
To promote oak regeneration in the Big Muddy River bottomlands, we are working with the National Wild Turkey Federation to plant pin oak, swamp white oak, overcup oak and cherrybark oak seedlings in Shawnee National Forest in southern Illinois.
The Maine Wildlife Park is home to towering eastern white pines that are slowly dying due to decay, insects and other natural causes, so we are partnering with the park to plant a new generation of white pines.
Minnesota’s Chippewa National Forest has been damaged over the years by spruce budworm, a native insect that feeds on pine needles, and invasive plant species; we are partnering with the USDA Forest Service to reforest the area to stop the spread of the invasive tansy and birdfoot trefoil.
Partnering with the USDA Forest Service, we are planting native shortleaf pine in Mississippi’s Holly Springs National Forest to reestablish this primary pine species of northern Mississippi in an area affected by two tornadoes in 2008.
Areas of Kootenai National Forest in Montana have been damaged by a variety of insects, so we are teaming up with the USDA Forest Service to plant a variety of species, including some that are more resistant to attack, to increase the forest’s health.
To restore the forests around Lake Tahoe that were damaged by a 2002 wildfire, we are partnering with the Sugar Pine Foundation to plant trees resistant to blister rust in an area adjacent to Heavenly Mountain Ski Resort and Village and Van Sickle Bi-State Park.
Because of a decline in the forest health due to drought, spruce needlecast and spruce budworm of Wisconsin’s Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest, we are working with the USDA Forest Service to plant a variety of tree species to boost the forest’s biodiversity and create habitat for the spruce grouse.
Recreation areas near Yellowstone National Park in Shoshone National Forest were severely damaged by wildfires in 2006, and we are partnering with the USDA Forest Service to replant these areas, restoring habitat for wildlife and improving the areas’ water quality.
How else is Forests for Fifty at work?