The United States will plant more than a billion trees over the next ten years, thus revitalizing some 1.7 million hectares of devastated woodlands in an effort to combat climate change.
Replanting trees is instrumental to filter and store water, sequester carbon, provide Indigenous communities with food and timber, and generate around $11 billion for the economy via outdoor activities, among others.
“Forests are a powerful tool in the fight against climate change,” says Tom Vilsack, the U.S. agriculture secretary. “Nurturing their natural regeneration and planting in areas with the most need is critical to mitigating the worst effects of climate change while also making those forests more resilient to the threats they face.”
Fires, pests, and extreme weather events have damaged woodlands and a meager 6 percent have been reforested, but the U.S. Department of Agriculture will receive funding through the REPLANT Act and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to close the gap. Last year, trees were replanted over some 24,000 hectares, and over the next few years, that area will expand to 162,000 additional hectares per year. Funding for the project will also increase, from $100 million this year to as much as $260 million.