The regeneration of forests in the United States and around the world is essential for reversing the climate change trajectory. The need to regrow our forests has never been more urgent, and our elected officials seem to recognize this fact.
In August of 2020, dozens of private corporations, local governments, and nonprofit organizations throughout the United States pledged to increase their efforts to reach the goal of planting a trillion trees around the world by the year 2030. The effort, put forth by the World Economic Forum, achieved support from both political parties, leading to the signing of a Presidential executive order in October 2020 promising federal support in reaching the trillion-tree goal. The new administration will – hopefully – continue along this path, and increase U.S. support.
Creating a strong federal mandate to grow trees can strengthen our ability to meet national climate goals. During the Obama administration, a pledge to lower carbon emissions by nearly 30 percent, in accordance with the Paris Climate Agreement, was only slightly focused upon land use, which consists of reforestation and enhancing carbon capture in soils. The current administration can significantly boost the effectiveness of the national climate change strategy by significantly enhancing reforestation efforts. By reforesting the 64 million acres that were categorized as being optimal for forestry, nearly 8 percent of the total emissions reductions needed to achieve the goals set forth by the Paris Agreement could be met.
Unfortunately, we’re not planting trees at a pace to reach this lofty goal. Our reforestation efforts aren’t effectively replacing the trees that have been lost due to recent years’ wildfires along the Western states. With wildfires becoming more widespread and dangerous due to climate change, the deficit will only increase if our current efforts remain the same going forward.
In order to plant trees, we need tree seedlings. Currently, tree nurseries and forestry services provide approximately 1.3 billion seedlings every year – less than half of what is necessary to affect positive change and plant the necessary number of trees. However, the tree seedling providers aren’t providing the maximum possible number of seedlings – only one-third of forest tree nurseries are providing all the seedlings they’re capable of producing.
To boost reforestation efforts, we must support organizations along the tree planting supply chain. This means ramping up production of tree seedlings, providing the appropriate training for forestry service employees, and increasing physical tree planting significantly. Forest Founders was created to both raise awareness of the importance of global forests and support tree planting initiatives and reforestation efforts in the United States and around the world.