Forests are incredibly important for the planet. Many of them get destroyed due to agricultural use, land development, and forest fires. To help maintain forests and bring them back, reforestation is a goal of many departments and organizations. According to American University, reforestation is defined as, “planting trees or allowing trees to regrow on land that had recently been covered with forest.”1
Reforestation provides many benefits for us and our environment:
Protection from soil erosion – by providing protective cover for soil from rain and snow
Carbon sequestration – which helps mitigate the effects of climate change2
Biodiversity – which helps strengthen the resilience of the forest so it can withstand disasters better1&3
Economic growth – reforestation supports local economies1
Better recreation activities – having healthy forests improves the experience
Air filtering – trees remove pollutants
Freshwater – our forests are great sources of our freshwater supply4
Linking habitats – helps animals move between areas and not become isolated from each other, which improves genetic diversity3
Especially in western states like California that experience wildfires every year, making sure to plant trees after devastating events like that is integral to helping boost recovery of the forest.4 About 80% of national forests that need to be reforested are affected by wildfires.2
When it comes to reforestation, care needs to be taken as to what to plant. How many trees and what species of trees will have different effects on the ecosystem. While non-native trees may sequester more carbon, they won’t provide as much biodiversity to the area. Plus, planting one single species puts it more at risk to get wiped out by something like a disease that can spread.3
Almost a third of the wildlife that is protected under the ESA relies on forest habitats, which is why reforestation is so important.4
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