Magazine article American Forests

2008 Annual Report

Magazine article American Forests

2008 Annual Report

Article excerpt

AMERICAN FORESTS' mission is to grow a healthier world by working with communities that plant trees to restore and maintain forest ecosystems. Our work encompasses tree planting though our Global ReLeaf campaign, calculating the value of urban ecosystems, fostering environmental education, and improving public policy for trees and forests at the national level. We have a goal to plant 100 million trees by 2020.

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GLOBAL RELEAF

During 2008, AMERICAN FORESTS awarded grants from our Global ReLeaf program to plant 3.7 million trees to restore damaged forest ecosystems from Alaska to Florida and from Armenia to Mexico. We supported the planting of over 20,000 trees for orangutan habitat in Malaysia, and 150,000 for monarch butterfly overwintering sites in the mountains of Michoacan, Mexico. Thousands of acres destroyed by wildfires in California, Minnesota, and Arizona were replanted through Global ReLeaf in 2008.

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In partnership with Timberland and Van Heusen, we coordinated four urban forest restoration projects with local nonprofits in Boston, New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco, planting nearly 2,000 trees.

Our 2008-09 National Register of Big Trees, sponsored by the Davey Tree Expert Company, recognized over 700 national champion trees--the biggest of their kind. Work began in 2008 on America's Historic Tree Register in expectation of its debut in early 2009.

We updated and relaunched a successful environmental education program, A Tree for Every Child, adding lesson plans and a learning guide, and made it all available free of charge on our website. With the help of a grant from Earth Gauge and the National Environmental Education Foundation, AMERICAN FORESTS provided climate-related tree facts to meteorologists across the United States.

FOREST POLICY

The main goal of our forest policy work is to ensure the protection and restoration of forest-based ecosystem services, especially clean air and water. Toward that end, we monitored and analyzed legislative proposals related to climate change and forests, and provided commentary on the Lieberman-Warner climate change bill.

We developed and implemented communication strategies for policymakers and the media on climate change and forests, prepared an issue paper as a part of the Rural Voices for Conservation Coalition (RVCC), and conducted briefings with agencies and Capitol Hill staff. We worked with partners on changing federal forest management, and assisted in developing the Forest Landscape Restoration Act. We also worked to advance a "green-collar workforce" in legislative priorities/issue papers.

Finally, as a part of our effort to ensure that trees and forest are recognized for the unique values they bring to addressing global climate change, we worked with California State Parks and the California Climate Registry to advance a carbon forest project for Conoco-Phillips. The project, at California's Cuyamaca State Park, will be the first forest carbon project under the new protocol.

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URBAN ECOSYSTEMS

To sustain the 21st century economy, we need to see things in a new way. We need to begin to understand the intertwined patterns and interactions of two systems: human and natural. We need a systems-based framework that results in policy and management structures that foster success, and programs and financing that support rather than fragment system continuity. Our Piedmont Crescent project further demonstrated the goals of this "New Framework": to foster co-evolution of our natural and human networks. This project, as well as our city analyses, was showcased at our National Conference on Urban Ecosystems in Orlando, Florida, in May.

With the use of GIS technology and our own CITYgreen software, AMERICAN FORESTS conducted urban ecosystem assessments to map and measure the value of urban ecosystems in Miami/Dade County, Florida; San Antonio, Texas; Bellevue, Washington; and Albuquerque, New Mexico. …

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