At the NFF, we like to say that our campaign to plant 50 million trees on our National Forests benefits all Americans. But what do we really mean? Read on for a few important benefits we all receive from replanting our forests.
Fresh Drinking Water
You may not have to look further than your kitchen sink to find a good reason to support tree planting on National Forests. Our National Forests are the single largest source of municipal water in the US, providing millions of Americans with water, including those in some of our largest cities.
With an economic value estimated at $7.2 billion annually, how do our National Forests do it? Trees capture rain water, slowing its migration to the forest floor. Trees then filter water, using the impurities for growth or storing them in wood. Some of this water reaches streams and other water bodies, from where it can continue on its journey to your tap. Planting trees supports watershed health and water quality, ensuring our forests’ ability to continue to supply water to millions.
Carbon storage and clean air
Tree planting improves the ability of our forests to sequester carbon, helping to mitigate the impacts of climate change and improve air quality. Healthy forests store massive amounts of carbon in ecosystem carbon reservoirs. In one year, 100 mature trees can remove 50 Metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent and 430 pounds of pollution from the atmosphere!
A place to go on your weekend getaway
Seven in ten Americans live within a two-hour drive of a National Forest. If you’re a city dweller and think you’re not one of these seven, check your map. Almost 60 forests are located near large urban areas that have populations of at least one million people. For example, the Angeles National Forest borders Los Angeles and Atlanta is within a two hour drive of three National Forests.
Tree planting improves the recreational experience for approximately 170 million visitors each year to our National Forests. Whether you’re traveling a half hour to your favorite hike or a few hours to explore new terrain, our replanted forests can help you relax and unwind.
Fish and Wildlife
National Forests provide a home to a diverse array of fish and wildlife. More than 3,000 species of wildlife inhabit our forests, including nearly one third of federally threatened and endangered species. Tree planting restores their habitat and improves watersheds, shading and cooling water for trout, and providing cover for grizzly bears and nesting spots for red-cockaded woodpeckers.
Even if you don’t live near a National Forest, knowing that these creatures have productive habitat far away may be important to you and you can look forward to spotting them when you visit. Additionally, when wildlife don’t have adequate habitat, they may enter urban environments, where conflicts with humans can occur.
There are so many more ways in which tree planting affects everyday Americans. From supporting local economies to public health and well-being, our campaign to plant 50 million trees on our National Forests benefits us all.