Pledge by American Forest Foundation
Reforesting and Restoring America’s Family Owned ForestsTotal Trees Pledged: 84,000,000
Supporting actions: Sustainable Forestry, Tree Protection through Management, Conservation Finance,
Today, more than one-third of America’s forests are owned by families and individuals—a fact that makes engaging with these 21 million families and individuals to help them steward their land, an essential part of any strategy to conserve, restore, and grow 1 trillion trees by 2030.
The American Forest Foundation works with these families and individuals to help them care for their land and produce important results including protection of air and water, conservation of at-risk species habitat, sustainable wood production, and carbon sequestration to mitigate climate change.
Given that AFF’s work largely focuses on existing forest owners, most of our contribution to the 1 trillion tree goal is in the form of maintaining existing trees. This is an essential piece of the equation: planting new trees is not enough to tackle challenges like climate change or risks to biodiversity, we must also maintain and restore what we have to achieve these goals as well.
AFF pledges over the next decade to work with over 100,000 landowners, who collectively care for more than 21 million acres of U.S. forests to help them reforest and restore their land to produce important outcomes. This work will involve planting or regenerating over 84 million trees and maintaining or restoring some 6.3 billion trees.
The result? Wildfire risks will be reduced, additional carbon will be captured, important species habitat will be protected, families will continue to sustainably supply the majority of the wood consumed in the U.S., among many other important outcomes.
For our reforestation and natural regeneration work, we are partnering with:
The Nature Conservancy
Arbor Day Foundation
USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service
Pennsylvania Department of Natural Resources, Bureau of Forestry
Butte County Resource Conservation District
In addition to these partners working on the direct tree planting activities, AFF partners with over 1,000 agency, conservation, industry, academic, and other organizations to achieve our collective results.
Acres: 84,375 / Trees: 81,898,964
For all of the below named activities, AFF’s pledges to pursue these, provided the necessary funding and inkind support can be garnered to be successful.
Sustainable Forestry: AFF operates the oldest and largest sustainable woodlands system in the U.S., the American Tree Farm System® (ATFS), aimed at helping family landowners achieve a set of sustainability standards and certifying wood produced from these lands to feed sustainable supply chains. Landowners in ATFS meet a high bar, and in doing so both directly and indirectly contribute to the 1 trillion tree goal. For example, landowners are required to reforest or otherwise regenerate their land after harvest or some other event, ensuring that we at least maintain trees currently on the landscape. Landowners are also supported to manage for invasive species and other insects and diseases to keep their forests healthy—again helping to maintain the current landscape. Research has also shown that landowners in ATFS are more likely to go above and beyond, restoring important native species like longleaf pine ecosystems, and other important forest types that are especially critical to biodiversity protection. In total, through ATFS, landowners, including new landowners we pledge to add, will maintain some 5.8 billion trees on some 20 million acres.
Tree Protection through Management: Across the West, in many areas including California, families often own more high fire risk acres than other ownerships. This means helping families manage for wildfire on their lands is critical. In California alone over the next several years, AFF pledges to help more than 200 families restore some 14,000 acres to more fire resilient conditions, that are essential for protecting lives, homes, and communities in this landscape.
Conservation Finance: To achieve the full potential of conservation impact on family forests in the U.S., public or philanthropic funding alone will not be enough. That’s why AFF is developing, through programs like our partnership with TNC on the Family Forest Carbon Program, innovative solutions to bring private finance to support, in this case, additional carbon capture in family-owned forests. This partnership has the potential to have a significant impact on climate mitigation, especially in the near term, while other technologies and solutions are coming online. In addition to the tree planting and regeneration work this program will foster, we estimate this work will help maintain and restore some 500,000,000 trees on family landowners over the next decade.
Throughout all our work with family landowners, whether we are helping them generate additional carbon benefits to mitigate climate change, reducing wildfire risks, or other conservation outcomes, our aim is to help each landowner work with a professional to find what's right for them AND the land. Most of these landowners end up with a forest management plan that is built off professional guidance and guides the landowners management actions for the long-term. Because all of our work involves people--the people that care for the land--our work is naturally focused on supporting community among landowners, among partners, and among stakeholders that care for the land.
25,878,086 MT CO2e