These two partners — those funding the work and those planting trees — are how we affect change for the planet and every being living on it. They must be chosen carefully. Each Arbor Day Foundation partner and project goes through a rigorous vetting process to confirm plans for site prep, planting, and care after trees are in the ground.
ASKING THE RIGHT QUESTIONS
Responsible tree planting at scale always involves asking questions — of ourselves and our partners.
For reforestation projects, especially after a natural disaster, questions revolve around the natural ecosystem. Is replanting necessary? Or will the area restore itself naturally, which is sometimes better? Decisions about what trees to plant should start with native and endemic species, the historical forest makeup, and expected changes in climate. In collaboration with our planting partners, we take a 360-degree view of the situation to act when the time is right.
The needs of unique plants and animals living in the forest come into play, too. What are the habitat needs of animal life in the area, especially threatened and endangered species? How will this project answer those needs?
Also critical when planning a reforestation project is how tree plantings will support watershed health. In other words, will this project support a healthy forest that cleans drinking water supplies and stabilizes soils?
Last but not least, how will the project impact people? There are a number of complex conversations involved about how a project will affect nearby communities, and how the planting partner can develop the details (tree species, maintenance training) around the community’s needs.
For community tree planting, the first question is always about the level of need. Some neighborhoods lost trees in a natural disaster, like hurricanes. Some have faced decades of unequal investment in green infrastructure.