American Forests to Plant 100 Million Trees by 2020

American Forests to Plant 100 Million Trees by 2020

American Forests, one of the first organizations to address the issue of global warming when it introduced Global ReLeaf in 1988, announced the launch of Global ReLeaf2, a dramatic expansion of its efforts to help cool the globe through the planting of trees. The goal of the campaign is to plant 100 million trees by the year 2020.

"Rising global temperatures are causing a host of environmental problems including the loss last year of 10 million acres to wildfires in this country alone. This is a devastating loss compounded by the fact that trees help slow global warming by sequestering carbon," said Deborah Gangloff, Ph.D., executive director of American Forests. "Currently, there are 1.1 million acres of National Forest lands in need of restoration and wildfire seasons are increasingly intense; 2 million acres of National Forest lands burned last year. So the need for restoration tree planting is great."

American Forests, the nation's oldest nonprofit citizens group, has been planting trees to restore forest ecosystems since 1875. The organization launched Global ReLeaf in 1988 to aggressively focus on planting trees to help cool the globe, while providing other environmental benefits such as clean water, clean air, and wildlife habitat.

"Restoration tree planting creates healthy forests that provide huge environmental benefits such as clean water, clean air, wildlife biodiversity and habitat," Gangloff stressed. "That is why our work is so important. But we cannot do it alone. It's only by joining with communities, businesses, governments, partner organizations and individuals, that American Forests can restore the life-giving ecosystem services produced by forests in all settings -- from water quality and carbon sequestration to wildlife habitat and air quality -- as well as prevent the loss of more trees and forests."

Trees, through their natural growth processes, draw carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and convert it into wood, while producing life-giving oxygen. Since it began, Global ReLeaf has planted more than 25 million trees in more than 500 projects across the United States and internationally, making American Forests a world leader in tree planting for environmental restoration. These plantings are estimated to have restored over 56,000 acres. Each acre restored will sequester and store more than 200 tons of carbon dioxide, or enough to offset the annual emissions of 35 minivans. In total, the 56,000 acres will sequester and store more than 11 million tons of carbon dioxide.

Trees are also critical to providing and protecting water. Forests cover nearly one-third of the nation's land and supply over 50 percent of freshwater flow in the lower 48 States. Forests protect water quality by slowing runoff, stabilizing soils, preventing erosion and floods, and filtering pollutants. According to U.S. Forest Service estimates, some 180 million people depend on forests for their drinking water.

"Planting a tree is something that anyone can do, and it will make a difference," Gangloff added. "Whether it's in your yard or in your community it's a positive step. We all need to be a part of the solution to global warming."

In addition to planting trees, individuals and organizations can support the Global ReLeaf2 effort through a financial donation. For every $1 donation to Global ReLeaf2, American Forests will plant 1 tree in one of its many projects.

These projects restore forests, repair hurricane and flood damage, reclaim abandoned strip mines and farms, prevent erosion, fight back invasive species of trees and make cooler, cleaner cities. American Forests has planted trees in over 500 projects in every state in America as well as in 21 countries worldwide.