The American West is no stranger to wildfires. It happens every year, with some of them being so destructive they continue to set new and devastating records.
Not only have fires destroyed homes and cost lives, but tree loss is also something that affects people on a very personal level.
As wildfires continue to increase, the trees decrease and it affects everything associated with it, from insects to animals.
Another factor that is important to consider is how many benefits trees provide to humans and the climate. They take in massive amounts of carbon dioxide and provide us with breathable oxygen.
As a result of the importance of trees and the fact that we have lost so many, the Biden administration is working along with Congress to plant some 1 billion trees in the American West, according to the Smithsonian Magazine.
This isn’t a program that hasn’t been considered before. Reforestation has always been on the table as a result of logging, but now that wildfires are on the increase, the need for reforestation has increased significantly along with it.
They also haven’t been able to keep up with the planting of trees that is necessary. Over 4 million acres need to be replanted at this time, and that is where this announcement comes in. The Forest Service is going to go from replanting 60,000 acres every year to planting some 400,000 acres annually.
Tom Vilsack, the Agriculture Secretary, announced this in a reforestation plan. According to the Associated Press, he said: “Our forests, rural communities, agriculture, and economy are connected across a shared landscape and their existence is at stake. Only through bold, climate-smart actions…can we ensure their future.”
As you can imagine, this is not a simple task. Things need to be organized in order for it to happen and as the science director for North America at the Nature Conservancy, Joe Fargione said to the AP: “You’ve got to be smart about where you plant.”
He went on to talk about how the climate has changed as a result of the destruction of the forests and reestablishing them is less likely to be successful.
5.6 million acres of forest burned in the United States in 2022 and the year is only halfway over. The previous record was set in 2015, with 10.1 million acres.
Secretary Vilsack said: “America’s forests already capture more than 10% of our nation’s carbon emissions each year and they have the potential to do more. We must safeguard and restore our forests to ensure they store carbon, rather than release it through catastrophic wildfire.”Whizzco