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American Forestry Association 1990 annual report.

1990 was a unique, challenging year for the American Forestry Association. AFA's voice was heard in a variety of settings from Limon, Colorado, to Mettmann, Germany, from the President of the United States to a Hungarian environmentalist. AFA was able to dramatically exceed its goals, bringing people and trees together to the benefit of both, and for the lasting improvement of the world's environment. And yet, in the face of those successes, we realize that some of the most daunting conservation problems of the century still face us.

Myriad conservation groups have sprung up in recent years, often competing with each other to be recognized as the expert at telling us how to be environmentally conscious. Everything ranging from modest suggestions to sermon-like diatribes against the eco-sins of modern man have bombarded people until the result is a confusing din and, too often, an overwhelmed and disinterested public. It is through this cacophony that the mainstream conservation message mush be heard if AFA is to succeed in reaching people.

Throughout its history, AFA has served as facilitator for rational discussion and compromise. At no time has that been more important than the past year. AFA often transcended the role of facilitator and became a hub, around which revolved citizen groups, businesses, and government acting in concert. The results? These are just a few:

* AFA information and education materials reached twice the number of people as in 1989. As a result, AFA's membership, regular and associate, grew to over 112,000--up 28 percent in one year's time!

* The number of grassroots projects exploded as people, working through citizen groups, local businesses, and government, took matters literally into their own hands. With the help of AFA's Global ReLeaf Fund, nearly 100 tree planting and care projects in communities across the country were directly assisted.

* For the first time in 116 years, AFA successfully launched a program that raises money from private sources to help support the reforestation of degraged ecosystems on public lands. With the strong support of state and federal land management agencies, and the financial support of individuals and businesses, the Global ReLeaf Heritage Forest program got off to a strong start with the restoration of almost 150 acres of key forest sites.

* AFA's mission was given a major boost as President George Bush announced his America the Beutiful campaign. His pledge, to encourage Americans to plant an additional billion tress per year for the next decade, brings programs like Global ReLeaf, along with all the other national, regional, and local tree-planting programs, together in a major national initiative.

* Corporate support for environmental programs skyrockedted as more and more businesses sought to show concern for their communities and their world. In 1989, corporations donated $360,000 to AFA's programs and projects. In 1990 that figure rose to $1.5 million.

* AFA and Global ReLeaf went international. With Canada ReLeaf off to a fast start under the able guidance of Friends of the Earth, initial efforts started in Costa Rica and England, and (would this have been thinkable five year ago?) an energetic and able program began in Hungary.

AFA pushed through ground-breaking measures on the legislative front:

* For the first time in history, the 1990 Farm Bill contained a full title on forestry.

* With the President's sponsorship, legislative action in the final session of the 100th Congress, which included a near doubling of the programs that assist non-industrial private forest landowners and an increasingly well-balanced national forest program, looked like an AFA wish list!

* As the battle over protecting the old-growth forecasts of the Pacific Northwest reached a fever pitch, AFA stood strong for a new approach based on science and professional management for shared and multiple purposes.

* An innovative partnership involving AFA, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Forest Service, State Foresters, and a host of experts from universities and the forest-products industry funded and coordinated several dozen new studies demonstrating the value of forests in stabilizing environmental and climate conditions.

From the halls of Congress to the forests of northern Michigan, from the devastation wrought by Hurricance Hugo in South Carolina to the streets of Seattle, AFA members played out the organization's theme to an appreciative audience: We must have more and better trees and forests, and people must learn about their relationship to trees and take positive action to improve those trees and forests. And, far from just talking our message, we fulfilled it: Groups that only a year ago did not know of one another are now working together under the Global ReLeaf banner; local governments, facing incredible budget crunches, have nonetheless taken important steps toward softening the hard life of city trees; corporations never before involved in environmental improvement have begun to look beyond the bottom line; and groups of youngsters from coast to coast now know the correct way to plant and care for a tree.

As a member of AFA, you can point with pride to these and other accomplishments--they are a result of your support and efforts. As a citizen who cares about trees and forests, you know that the work is far from complete.

However, AFA has a solid start and, with a strong Board of Directors and your continued support, we can build upon the successes of the past year while looking toward the windows of opportunity that open daily. Please join us as we look back on the year past and eagerly face the upcoming challenges.


Global ReLeaf hit the ground running in 1990. The program, begun in 1988 in response to growing concerns about the greenhouse effect and climate change, expanded into one of the most widely recognized conservation campaigns in the United States. An overwhelming number of citizens corporations, and governments responded to the Global ReLeaf challenge to "Plant a Tree, Cool the Globe." Although the program became a beacon for wideranging action, its founding premise remained constant. Everyone can help improve the environment--no action is too small.

In an effort to consolidate the many groups working under the Global ReLeaf umbrella, the Global ReLeaf Coalition was formed in late 1990. This coalition provides groups with a support network of similar organizations and ensures that groups are not competing for resources, but the helping one another.

To help citizen's groups realize their goals and provide realize their goals and provide assistance in a coordinated way, the Global ReLeaf Fund was established in 1989 and made available to a wide variety of groups as matching funds to buy trees or support essential activities. In 1989, the Global ReLeaf Fund helped 12 groups complete tree plantings in their communities. In 1990, nearly 100 projects benefited from $635,000 in support.

Corporations also flocked to the Global ReLeaf cause. For example, in Limon, Colorado, Mr. Coffee--a maker of paper coffee filters--financed tree plantings to replace the devastation of the town's trees by a June tornado. In Denver, Houston, and New Orleans, over 1,600 Texaco employees volunteered to help plant street trees purchased and donated by the company.

Across America, teachers by the thousands used educational posters distributed by McDonald's restaurants and a Global ReLeaf Curriculum on climate change in their classrooms, and in nine cities, children went to their local McDonald's to pick up a seedling to plant.

AFA's Famous and Historic Tree program was expanded into a major national effort through a partnership with Classic Trees, Inc., a commercial nursery in Jacksonville, Florida. Under the energetic leadership of Classic Trees, hundreds of groups and thousands of people gathered seeds or cuttings from famous and historic trees. All were carefully shipped to participating commercial nurseries, where they are being grown into high-quality seedlings for community plantings. Local tree-planting groups can sell these Famous and Historic trees as a fund raiser, getting both a source of tree seedlings and operating capital in the process. Planted at schools and parks, these tree groves will become a place where children for decades will be able to learn U.S. history and the role of trees in the environment at the same time.

1990 was also the year that the Global ReLeaf campaign reached across the ocean and captured the imagination of our European friends. In Mettmann, Germany, Karl Peter Hasenkamp decided to find a way to offset the carbon dioxide he a his family produce through their fuel usage. The answer: plant trees in America (the cost in Germany is prohibitively high) through Global ReLeaf. His donation, along with many from the U.S., helped plant the first Global ReLeaf Heritage Forest in Michigan. Herr Hasenkamp is now establishing a nonprofit group to broaden the program in Germany. England and Hungary are also entering into the ReLeaf arena.

In addition to international involvement, Global ReLeaf saw the birth of several offspring programs, aimed at getting an even wider variety of people involved. Energy ReLeaf is a program that encourages utility companies to plant and care for trees as one way to compensate for their carbon dioxide output, as well as educate their consumers in the use of trees as an energy conservation measure. Farm ReLeaf--a program designed and publicized by Successful Farming magazine--encourages farm families to share innovative ideas about creative uses of trees in converting marginal crop of pasturelands, improving the environment, and producing new crops to help stabilize farm income. And Global ReLeaf for New Communicaties is a vehicle for responsible developers and suburban planners to demonstrate that new communities can be built without doing irrevocable harm to the land, and to reward and publicize those developers willing to build environmentally sensitive communities.

Throughout 1990, Global ReLeaf took its message to an ever-expanding audience of people looking to have a positive impact on the world in which they live. This was made possible by the strong support of magazines and newspapers such as Time, Ladies Home Journal, National Geographic, Esquire, Newsweek, and USA Today, which provided millions of dollars worth of free advertising space. Radio and television stations publicized local tree-planting projects, and our special Cable Television partner--The Discovery Channel--developed and is airing a growing list of Global ReLeaf ads, promotions, and educational videos. Our message was also carried on consumer products, as companies like Aveda, Quintassence, and Ralston-Purina found space on their packaging to promote Global ReLeaf--and supported tree-planting projects and educational outreach programs.



AFA's pioneering urban-forestry studies have shown that an average of four city trees are dying or being removed for every new tree planted. Information like this helped galvanize national action in 1990, from local tree improvement projects to President Bush's America the Beautiful initiative.

One of the most exciting changes in urban forestry during 1990 was the development of educational material featuring a new planting technique that research has demonstrated to be far more successful than the older methods were. This technique will pay big dividends in the long run as fewer and fewer trees die of poor planting practices.

In order to maximize the effectiveness of the various government agencies and citizens groups involved in the planting and care of community trees, the National Urban Forest Council has been assisting with the formation of state urban forestry councils. These state councils, now numbering 38, are a critical factor in helping states and localities respond to the new challenges created as a result of the expansion of the Forest Service's Urban and Community Forestry program during 1990.


AFA's cooperative effort with the Forest Service, EPA, State Foresters, and the American Forest Council has resulted in over 40 new papers, ranging from technical demonstrations of how timber yield tables can be easily converted to estimate the impact of different forest management options on the atmospheric carbon balance, to papers on the potential role of wood-growing energy plantations, windbreaks, and shelterbelts, or urban trees on the nation's energy supplies, pollution problems, and carbon balances. These papers woll be published in book form in 1991.

In recognition of the need for the best possible information and science upon which to develop AFA's educational and advocacy materials, the Board of Directors concluded a year-long study with the establishment of a new Forest Policy Center. The Center will assemble research grants from public and private sources into focused study programs that develop and improve the information base for both private management and public policymakers. The main focus will be on how humans, trees, forests, and the environment inter-relate.


In terms of AFA's impact on national policy making, 1990 was one of the most active and exciting years in the history of the association. Federal programs that cooperate with and supprt improved forestry on both state and private lands were addressed in the 1990 Farm Bill.

Three exciting new campaigns were initiated: The Forest Legacy program will allow USDA to assist state and local land-protection efforts through conservation easements that allow the protection of critical forest areas while leaving the land in private ownership. The Forest Stewardship and associated Stewardship Incentives programs provide State Forestry agencies with new tools to reach non-industrial private forest owners. Technical assistance focusing on managing
 1990 Statement of Revenues and Expenses
Revenues Expenses
 Dues 671,316 Education 2,095,941
 Contributions 327,807 Projects 517,929
 Grants 1,054,011 Services 387,127
 Contracts 369,668 Research 124,314
 Sales 538,787 Administrative 158,740
 Investments 273,551 Fundraising 71,678
 Other 67,051
 Total 3,355,729
 Total 3,302,191 Excess of Expenses
 over Revenues 53,538

forests for the entire range of environmental and economic benefits--not just timber production--will give owners access to new information and stewardship options. The Stewardship Incentives pprogram provides cost-sharing that will result in dramatically improved forests on the millions of ownerships that make up the bulk of America's future forest base.

One of the many challenges that faced AFA in the political arena over the last year involved the emotionally charged debate surrounding tropical forests. To address that challenge, AFA applied for and received a grant from the U.S. Agency for International Development to conduct research on sustainable development in tropical forest regions and begin an educational campaign aimed at informing American adults and youngsters about the importance of the forests that are far from our shores.

In addition, AFA entered the controversial debate on old-growth forests. As the two sides continued to become more and more polarized and compromise seemed to slip farther from reach, AFA brought its expertise and reputation for moderation to the discussion. With a variety of bills being introduced in Congress, AFA helped developed support for a multiple-use approach based on the best science available and sensitive to the continued productivity of the ecosystem as a whole. Resolution of the old-growth issue seems far in front of us still, but we are convinced that the ultimate answer will require the kind of sound, rational thinking that is always hard to achieve once an issue becomes as emotional and heated as this one has become.


AMERICAN FORESTS, the magazine of trees and forests, continued to carve out for itself the unique niche it has enjoyed in 97 years of publication. AFA's flagship publication is a proven performer in lean economic times. When other magazines saw big-ticket advertising erode, AMERICAN FORESTS witnessed a surge. The magazine ventured to the newsstand in a roll-out of earlier tests, and sales were pleasantly, and unexpectedly, high.

To get the urban forestry message across to a broader audience the Urban Forest Forum underwent a dramatic change from a newsletter to become Urban Forests, a 24-page magazine. Supported by a variety of urban forest "stewards" -- organizations and companies that help underwirte the costs of publication and distribution--the magazine has enjoyed increased readership and cultivated the burgeoning interest in city trees.

To keep forest professionals and concerned citizens abreast of developments in resource policy, AFA offers the Resource Hotline newsletter. Featuring up-to-date information about happenings in Washington, DC, the Hotline serves as AFA's pipeline of policy news.

Reaching citizens groups, individuals, and other Global ReLeaf supporters, the Global ReLeaf Report was greatly improved in 1990. Published quarterly and featuring stories about the people and events shaping the Global ReLeaf theme on the ground, the Report puts a human face on the wide variety of activities that spring from the Global ReLeaf campaign.

1990 was a banner year for the National Register of Big Trees as the program celebrated its 50th anniversary wit a big, full-color printing of the most current champion tree Register. In addition to sponsoring publication of the expanded Register, the Davey Tree Expert Company included Big Tree information in its nationwide advertising campaign.


As world leaders talk about the possibility of a "new world order" emerging from recent political events, we are convinced that a new "conservation order" must emerge as an inseparable companion. The same forces of international communications, commerce, and travel that help us realize how we must somehow learn to live in peace also demonstrate that there can be no environmental security for one nation unless the environment is safe for all.

Global climate change--although scientifically debatable--is nonetheless a top-of-the-ticket issue in international circles. Every international negotiation on climate change discusses how climate change means changes in forests and new challenges for citizens and foresters everywhere.

Through the Global ReLeaf campaign, AFA has established itself as a leading participant in the forestry aspects of the global environmental challenge. In so doing, we have bitten off the largest challenge in the Association's history. People and organizations all over the world are asking for information, wanting to become involved in campaigns like Global ReLeaf, looking for practical, do-able solutions for problems that, at times, seem too huge to comprehend, let alone address.

Extraordinary situations call for extraordinary efforts. As citizens dedicated to the improvement of the environment, we're well aware that all the world's problems won't be solved with more and better trees. But we're also aware that some problems--including some very important ones--can, indeed, be solved this way. So we're dedicated to the goal of motivating and educating people to take positive actions to improve their environment. We believe if we pursue this mission with vigor that our grandchildren's children will live in a better world because we were here, doing what we do best.
COPYRIGHT 1991 American Forests
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1991, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Publication:American Forests
Date:May 1, 1991
Previous Article:Saga of the reluctant woodcutter.
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