Global ReLeaf FAQs

Since 1990, American Forests Global ReLeaf has completed restoration work in all 50 U.S. states and 44 countries around the world, helping to plant more than 44 million trees in areas of crucial need. These projects have restored forest ecosystems for myriad critical issues, including wildlife habitat improvement, responses to wildfire and other threats, water resource protection and carbon offsets benefits. Through local partnerships, American Forests is able to involve individuals, organizations, agencies and corporations in tree planting projects that restore local and global ecosystems. Below are some of the most commonly asked questions about the Global ReLeaf program and its grants.

General Information

A 2012 Global ReLeaf project in New Mexico restores a riparian area of the Jemez Mountain.

A 2012 Global ReLeaf project in New Mexico restores a riparian area of the Jemez Mountain. Credit: WildEarth Guardians

What is a Global ReLeaf forest?
Global ReLeaf forests are reforestation projects on public lands — managed by a local, state or federal organization — or certain publicly accessible projects meeting special criteria on private lands. By partnering with private organizations and the U.S. Forest Service, Global ReLeaf selects lands where additional funding can help create a new forest that would not be possible under existing programs and budgets.

What are the special criteria for private land plantings?
The special criteria for private lands involve two main factors: the land must be able to be accessed by the public, and a forester or forestry expert must be directly involved in supervising the planting, care and long-term maintenance of the forest.

Will Global ReLeaf reforest areas for which public agencies are responsible?
There are millions of acres of U.S. forestland under the control of public forestry agencies, such as the U.S. Forest Service or U.S Fish & Wildlife Service, where past land-use practices and natural disasters have left the land in poor condition. While many public agencies would like to repair and restore these sites, they lack the necessary funding to do so. Global ReLeaf expands upon existing efforts and allows private citizens and organizations to participate in these environmental improvement projects.

What benefits do Global ReLeaf projects provide?
By expanding the area of healthy trees and forests and restoring natural ecosystems, Global ReLeaf tree planting projects provide long-term environmental, economic, and social benefits. Trees prevent soil erosion, clean waterways and absorb harmful greenhouse gases — including carbon dioxide — from the atmosphere. Forests also help recharge groundwater and sustain stream flow, provide vital habitat for wildlife, and offer people a multitude of recreational activities. Each planting area is responsibly managed to provide optimal benefits.

What are some of the organizations American Forests collaborates with for its projects?
American Forests works closely with the following organizations: U.S. Forest Service; U.S. Bureau of Land Management; U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service; state parks, forests and wildlife areas; U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; Soil and Water Conservation Districts; nonprofit conservation and tree planting organizations; American Indian nations; Natural Resources Conservation Service; counties; communities; and schools. American Forests encourages partnering with groups that include qualified individuals with disabilities and other diverse communities in our reforestation grant program.


Project Information

A 2012 Global ReLeaf project in Oregon's Deschutes National Forest works to restore a landscape burned in the 2010 Rooster Rock Fire.

A 2012 Global ReLeaf project in Oregon’s Deschutes National Forest works to restore a landscape burned in the 2010 Rooster Rock Fire. Credit: U.S. Forest Service

What is the minimum and maximum grant amount that can be requested?
Global ReLeaf does not currently implement a standard minimum and maximum grant award to successful applicants. However, most of our grants typically fall between $3,000 and $30,000, with very few partners each year exceeding this range. We also award grants for partial funding when the grantee has already identified other project supporters.

How many acres/trees should my project plant? 
Global ReLeaf projects typically reforest areas of 20 acres or more, though we do occasionally work in urban areas with smaller parcels of land. Most projects will plant between 200 and 700 trees per acre; the average is approximately 500. We do not have a set amount of total trees that each project is required to plant, as this can vary by land type and tree species being planted, but the most successful applicants assure that their projects minimize the ratio of grant amount requested per tree number proposed.

My project is not directly planting trees, but we plan to complete restoration work via invasive removal, site preparation, maintenance of previous sites, etc. Can I still qualify for funding?
American Forests Global ReLeaf places a focus on tree planting restoration work, but is offering a percentage of funding for area maintenance and other restoration tasks in 2014. This percentage is offered in recognition of the critical implications of these important tasks and the benefits they provide to the surrounding ecosystem. For more information or to see if your project qualifies, please reach out to Megan Higgs at

How are planting sites, tree species and planting methods selected?
American Forests thoroughly reviews each application to select planting sites where trees are most needed. An agreement is then made between American Forests and the local planting partners at each site to ensure that native tree species are planted using proper planting methods and that follow-up care and management will be provided. We place emphasis on planting a variety of tree species using the latest, most accurate reforestation and management techniques to recreate a thriving and diverse ecosystem.

Are there any differences between the Global ReLeaf and Alcoa Foundation Partnership for Trees applications?
Yes, there are. Organizations that apply to Partnership for Trees program must coordinate with a local Alcoa office and plan at least one volunteer event for Alcoa employees. The application for the Alcoa Foundation Partnership for Trees program is accessible here.

How can organizations apply for project consideration?
American Forests program representatives work to identify and select eligible projects that meet the application criteria. If you believe your project meets the criteria, the 2015 online application will be available in fall 2015. To view instructions for completing the online application, please click here. If you have any additional questions, please contact Megan Higgs at 202-370-4519 or

I am having issues with the online application. Can I submit the application using an alternative method?
To improve our data systems and render our database more efficient, we strongly encourage applicants to adhere to the online format. However, if you are experiencing difficulties with the online application, a Microsoft Word version of the application may be made available to you by contacting Megan Higgs at 202-370-4519 or

Critical Issues