Nebraska City, Neb. (March 3, 2009) – The Georgia Forestry Commission has planted more than half a million trees in wildfire-ravaged south Georgia with funds provided by the Arbor Day Foundation.
As part of a wildfire restoration project in Dixon Memorial State Forest, 509,555 pine trees have been planted on a 4,500-acre tract of upland pine habitat that was destroyed by the historic spring wildfires of 2007. Both longleaf and slash pine trees are being reinstated. The project enhances the restoration of Georgia's native longleaf pines, which have declined by 80 percent since 1955. Less than a half million acres of longleaf pine habitat remain throughout the state.
The Arbor Day Foundation is the largest nonprofit tree-planting organization in the United States, with nearly one million members. The Foundation plants and distributes more than 10 million trees each year.
"Thanks to the generosity of our members and great partners and friends, we are able to work with the Georgia Forestry Commission on this extensive tree-planting project in Dixon Memorial State Forest," said Dan Lambe, vice president of programs for the Arbor Day Foundation. "These trees will help restore a native species to the area, provide vital habitat for wildlife, and clean the air and water for Georgians."
Dixon Memorial State Forest is located in Southern Georgia near Waycross, and is the fourth largest Wildlife Management Area in the state. The forest covers more than 35,000 acres and includes both swampland and pine timberland.
"The Arbor Day Foundation's contribution enables us to restore healthy forests on wildfire-devastated lands that otherwise could not be accomplished with severely limited state funds," said Robert Farris, Director of the Georgia Forestry Commission. "The citizens of Georgia directly benefit from our multi-faceted partnership with the Arbor Day Foundation, as together we maintain healthy, sustainable forests that are providing clean air, clean water, and abundant forest products for generations to come."
This year, the Arbor Day Foundation is working with partners to plant trees in more than 10 states and territories in the United States. Since 1989, the Arbor Day Foundation has worked with the U.S. Forest Service to plant trees in America's national forests. Since then, the Foundation has helped to plant more than 12 million trees in national forests that have been devastated by wildfire, insects and disease.