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4/1/2021

Study: More Trees, Please

Jennifer Polanz

A new study from The Nature Conservancy says there’s a need for more tree production to meet the growing demand of replanting efforts, along with a need for more federal funding to back growers.

The study notes reforesting U.S. forests is “urgently needed to fight climate change and recover from severe wildfires,” and there are significant gaps in the supply chain to fulfill that need.

“To meet the need for reforestation, we’ll need to invest in more trees, more nurseries, more seed collection and a bigger workforce,” says study author Joe Fargione of The Nature Conservancy, in a media release. “In return, we’ll get carbon storage, clean water, clean air and habitat for wildlife.”

The study was published in the science journal “Frontiers in Forests and Global Change,” and was authored by 18 scientists from universities, nonprofits, businesses, and state and federal agencies.

Get ready for some numbers: According to the scientists, there’s 64 million acres of natural and agricultural lands in the U.S. that could be replanted to forest, which is about half of the country’s total reforestation opportunity. Those 64 million acres would require 30 billion trees, which equates to 1.7 billion more tree seedlings than are currently produced each year for the land to be reforested by 2040.

The study’s authors call for low-interest or forgivable loans and long-term contracts to help boost nursery expansion, among other actions to further investment into the reforestation “pipeline.”

You can find more details about this study at nature.org/en-us/newsroom/challenges-reforestation-pipeline. GP

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