The Biden administration announced this week that the United States Department of Agriculture will plant 1 billion new trees in the western US in regions that are in dire need of replanting after devastating wildfires and drought conditions that wiped out millions of trees.
Intense wildfires and extreme weather have created annual wildfire outbreaks and drought conditions in much of the western United States. Officials say the damage has caused a huge backlog of 4.1 million acres in the US west that are in dire need of replanting. In order to combat the lack of trees in these areas, the USDA announced this week it will launch a program to plant 1 billion new trees in place of the ones that have not grown back after being scorched.
“Our forests, rural communities, agriculture and economy are connected across a shared landscape and their existence is at stake,” Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said. “Only through bold, climate-smart actions … can we ensure their future.”
Vilsack explained the importance of replanting in order to combat climate change. “Forests are a powerful tool in the fight against climate change,” said Secretary Vilsack. “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 from catastrophic wildfire, historic drought, disease outbreaks and pest infestation.”
Most of the planting will take place in the western regions, where it is most needed, according to the announcement, but some areas in other parts of the country will also be included in the plan. Chief of the US Forest Service, Randy Moore, said the plan will serve as part of a robust framework to combat deforestation across the country.
“Our reforestation efforts on national forests only increase through strong partnerships with other federal agencies, tribes, state and local governments, communities and organizations,” Moore said. “We recognize that successfully increasing reforestation on national forests is dependent on these strong partnerships.”
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