• U.S. Will Plant One Billion Trees to Combat Climate Change

    From Internetado@21:1/5 to All on Thu Aug 18 19:29:41 2022
    _The Forest Service plans to tackle a reforestation backlog of 4.1
    million acres_

    To help revitalize millions of acres of burned and damaged forests
    across the American West, the U.S. Department of Agriculture aims to
    plant more than one billion trees over the next decade.

    Wildfires and other issues have devastated U.S. woodlands in recent
    years, and Forest Service arborists can’t keep up with replanting lost
    trees. They’ve reforested just six percent of land damaged by fires,
    pests and extreme weather events, which has created a backlog of about
    4.1 million acres.

    Now, with more federal resources and funding via the REPLANT Act and
    the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the USDA's Forest Service plans to
    close the gap. To do so, the federal agency will need to hire more
    people, source and collect more seeds and expand its nursery capacity
    to grow four times more seedlings.

    “Forests are a powerful tool in the fight against climate change,” says
    Tom Vilsack, the U.S. agriculture secretary, in a statement announcing
    the initiative this week. “Nurturing their natural regeneration and
    planting in areas with the most need is critical to mitigating the
    worst effects of climate change while also making those forests more
    resilient to the threats they face.”

    The federal government is focused on replanting trees on public lands
    because forests filter and store water, sequester carbon, provide
    Indigenous communities with food and timber, and contribute more than
    $11 billion to the economy via outdoor recreation, to name a few
    benefits. Left bare, areas once charred by wildfires are also more
    susceptible to other potentially disastrous problems, such as
    mudslides, flooding and landslides.

    The Forest Service will scale up its reforestation efforts gradually.
    Last year, staffers replanted roughly 60,000 acres of trees. Over the
    next few years, that number will increase to about 400,000 acres per
    year. Spending will also rise, from about $100 million spent on
    reforestation this year to as much as $260 million.

    “Achieving this vision of growing and nurturing resilient forests for tomorrow requires action today,” according to the Forest Service’s reforestation strategy plan.

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