Nebraska City, Neb. (Sept. 15, 2009) – Wildfire season hit the western United States this year earlier than usual, burning thousands of acres of forest lands and inflicting great damage in southern California. The Arbor Day Foundation has a unique way for all Americans to help plant trees in forests damaged by wildfires through its Replanting Our National Forests campaign.
Every dollar donated to the Replanting Our National Forests campaign plants a tree in a forest that has been damaged by wildfires, insects or disease. Last year alone, the Arbor Day Foundation worked with the U.S. Forest Service to plant more than 8 million trees in our nation's forests.
The time to act is now. In many forests damaged by wildfire, there is an urgent need to rebuild vital root systems that will prevent soot, ash and topsoil runoff from contaminating water supplies in the area. Forest areas naturally help purify drinking water for millions of Americans from coast to coast, in addition to cleaning the air, providing wood for homes and habitat for wildlife.
The need to plant trees in our nation's forests remains great. Because of recent record years for wildfires, the Forest Service uses much of its budget to extinguish the blazes. So much so that the Forest Service has identified a backlog of 1 million acres of forest land that needs to be replanted. The cost of fighting fires doesn't leave enough for replanting areas in critical need of new trees.
In some areas damaged by wildfire, trees will not naturally regenerate. Instead of healthy forest stock, scrub brush will accumulate unless many native trees get planted. The Arbor Day Foundation partners with the U.S. Forest Service to determine the areas that are in critical need of replanting.
"Our National Forests are treasures set aside for people from all walks of life to enjoy," said John Rosenow, chief executive of the Arbor Day Foundation. "By helping to plant trees in our nation's forests, Americans will help restore these damaged treasures for future generations."
This year is shaping up to be another season of large wildfires. The fire in the Angeles National Forest just north of Los Angeles burned more than 160,000 acres of land and caused millions of dollars in damages in the area's first major blaze of the year.
To help plant trees in our nation's forests through the Arbor Day Foundation's Replanting Our National Forests campaign, go to www.arborday.org.
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About the Arbor Day Foundation: The Arbor Day Foundation is a nonprofit, conservation and education organization of nearly one million members, with a mission to inspire people to plant, nurture and celebrate trees. More information on the Foundation and its programs can be found at arborday.org.