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Trees for tomorrow.

The 1997 global releaf forests projects have just been announced, and the beneficiaries are as diverse as the areas where they are located. Your $1-per-tree contributions will help plant more than 1 million trees on 23 sites in 19 states and two Canadian provinces. And while there are always more deserving projects than there is money available, staffers say they like the wealth of possibilities in this list, which includes national wildlife refuges, areas burned by wildfire, and closed landfills. Numerous endangered animals and plants will benefit, along with ecosystems and even recreational users. Projects include:

California: King Range Conservation Area

This parcel, in the King Range Conservation Area, burned more than than 20 years ago while privately owned. It was subsequently logged and acquired in its present state by the federal Bureau of Land Management. The agency expects to see a variety of benefits from restoring native Douglas-fir to the parcel. This Global ReLeaf Forest will plant 25,000 trees on a 100-acre parcel with help from local students.

Colorado: Black Ridge Fire Site

This Global ReLeaf Forest project will help a section of the Southern Ute Indian Reservation recover from the July 1994 Black Ridge wildfire, which burned more than 14,000 acres of semi-arid foothills. Plans are to plant 63,983 pinyon pines on 587 acres of fire-damaged land. Seedlings will be grown and donated by the Bureau of Indian Affairs' nursery and then planted by the Southern Ute Tribal Conservation Corps and private contractors. Reestablishing valuable forests and woodlands will provide multiple benefits, including quality winter range for deer and elk. Unemployment in the area is high, and the project will provide short-term employment in the nursery and for the planting.

Florida: Apalachicola Bluffs and Ravines Preserve

AMERICAN FORESTS and The Nature Conservancy are sponsoring a three-year project to convert what is considered to be a "crown jewel" preserve on Florida's panhandle from flash pine to native longleaf pine and wiregrass. The project goal is to plant 25,000 longleaf pine and 25,000 understory species, mostly wire-grass, over each of the three years. The preserve is home to more than 15 threatened/endangered plant and animal species, such as the Florida torreya tree, the gopher tortoise, and the red-cockaded woodpecker. Site preparation, nursery maintenance, and planting will be done by Nature Conservancy staff with the help of more than 150 volunteers.

Florida: Tamiami Pine Preserve/Miami Rock Ridge Area

The last of Dade County's slash pine was devastated by Hurricane Andrew. This restoration project, begun in 1994, has so far planted 63,500 seedlings toward its goal of 500,000 slash pine on 1,000 acres. Because the seed cone crops have been poor, project organizers used a bucket truck to pick cones, gathering enough to grow 80,000 trees. This project is one of the tougher Global ReLeaf Forests: The planting site is rugged, seed cones are scarce, and invasive species must be carefully monitored and controlled. These problems are being overcome together with agency partners and volunteers.

Florida: Withlacoochee State Forest

One hundred acres of the Withlacoochee State Forest, located west of Orlando, will be planted with 75,000 longleaf pine seedlings to restore habitat for a number of endangered and threatened species, including red-cockaded woodpeckers. Before planting, though, the Division of Forestry must eradicate an invasive exotic, cogongrass (Imperata cylindrica), which has taken over about 5,000 acres of state land.

Kentucky: Bell Farm

On Bell Farm, part of Daniel Boone National Forest in McCreary County, the planting of 7,000 red oak seedlings across 35 acres is expected to benefit a variety of endangered and threatened species, including the fresh water mussel, Indiana bat, and red-cockaded woodpecker. Reforestation also will improve the quality of water draining from abandoned fields, which in turn will decrease the amount of sediment entering local streams. The Bell Farm, bottomland formerly used for grazing, is within a state-designated Wild and Scenic River corridor and was acquired by the U.S. Forest Service several years ago.

Maryland: Glades Preserve

AMERICAN FORESTS and The Nature Conservancy last year began a three-year project to plant at least 10,000 red spruce seed and seedlings around a rain-fed Western Maryland mountain bog. The site is home to black bear and supports the bog copper butterfly and at least a dozen other species of plants, insects, and birds that are uncommon, rare, threatened, or endangered in the state.

Michigan: Betsie River Riparian Corridor

After a dam washed out in 1989 and unleashed seven decades of erosion in one day, riverbanks were destroyed, fish killed, and sediment filled the water. The project goals are to plant grass, shrubs, and 108,900 seedlings on 150 acres along the river and to stabilize the bottom with rocks and gravel. The trees will provide shade to cool water temperatures and improve conditions for fish. The Northwest Michigan RC&D Council will work with the Betsie River Watershed Restoration Committee to improve both water quality and the river's aesthetic and recreational qualities, including conditions for canoeing and fishing. The venture has 25 partners.

Missouri: Arkansas-Missouri Sand Ponds Natural Area

The goal of this Global ReLeaf Forest is long-term wetlands conservation and restoration of sand pond wetlands for Lindera melissifolia, an endangered plant. A joint effort of The Nature Conservancy in Arkansas and the Missouri Sand Ponds Conservation Project will plant 150,000 bottomland hardwood seedlings on 367 acres. Sand ponds, an uncommon wetland habitat, have been hurt by conversion to other uses including rice farming. A number of plants and animals inhabit the area, as do waterfowl, such as mallards, northern pin-tail, blue-winged teal, and wood ducks. The Sand Ponds area is also a stopover point for migrating neotropical songbirds. The project is considered a model restoration effort that will benefit the entire ecosystem, and one that offers boundless educational opportunities to local school groups and to civic and scouting organizations.

Mississippi: St. Catherine Creek National Wildlife Refuge

Scientists are concerned about the migration routes of neotropical songbirds. St. Catherine Creek National Wildlife Refuge, along the Lower Mississippi River near Natchez, is a stopover site for these birds. This Global ReLeaf Forest project, now in its second year, will plant green ash and several species of oak as part of a plan to reestablish a bottomland hardwood forest across most of the former agricultural land. Bringing back the hardwood forest will help restore the original ecosystem and reduce habitat fragmentation, making it an inviting stop-off point for the neotropical birds; a home for the bald eagle, recently downgraded to threatened status, and for the endangered Louisiana black bear and peregrine falcon, as well as for wintering and breeding waterfowl.

The 24,000-acre refuge was acquired in 1990 by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which plans to plant 80,000 hardwood seedlings across 540 acres in both 1997 and 1998. Bird-watching and hunting opportunities will be enhanced as well, and the FWS hopes to use St. Catherine Creek as a showcase to prove the consumptive and nonconsumptive benefits provided by a properly managed bottom-land forest are often greater than those of clearing marginal land for agriculture.

New Mexico: Mescalero-Apache Indian Reservation

While the debate goes on over how to handle western wildfires, the problem remains: How to deal with what's left afterward. This multi-year Bureau of Indian Affairs/Mescalero-Apache Indian Reservation project will replace vegetative cover on 757 acres of the Elk and 3,500 acres of the Chino Wells forest fire areas, which burned this past spring. The fires brought both good and bad news to the reservation. Although the fires created conditions that will allow desirable diverse forest conditions in some areas, they consumed overstory and understory vegetation in others. And much of the forest burned by the Elk fire could have provided jobs and wood products for the Mescalero-Apache tribe's sawmill enterprise. The goal is to plant close to 1.3 million seedlings on 4,257 acres over five years. Global ReLeaf Forest funding will support the planting of 100,000 ponderosa pine and Douglas-fir in 1997.

New York: Long Island Pine Barrens Preserve

A wildfire that destroyed 7,000 acres of pine and oak forest in the Long Island Pine Barrens Preserve in late summer 1995 prompted the need for this Global ReLeaf Forest. Ninety acres will be planted with 36,000 native tree species, 30 acres per year, to restore land that had to be bulldozed as fire breaks. Debris had to be pulled back onto the land once the fire was out to prevent further degradation from compaction and erosion caused by illegal off-road vehicles. The Long Island Native Plant Center at Suffolk Community College in Riverhead will spearhead the project and use it to enhance native plant propagation and restoration techniques. Seedlings will be provided by the New York State Nursery at Saratoga, New Jersey State Tree Nursery, the proposed Native Plant Center Nursery at Suffolk County Community College, and other local nurseries. Species will include pitch pine, red maple, scarlet oak, hickory, American holly, red cedar, and sassafras.

Oregon: Applegate Watershed

Restoring riparian areas to improve water quality and fish habitat and survival are among the goals of a Global ReLeaf Forest project in the Applegate Watershed in Oregon's Jackson and Josephine counties. Volunteers, private landowners, school-children, employees from the Bureau of Land Management, and volunteers from the Applegate River Watershed Council will join together to plant 16,800 trees on 75 acres. Planting on upper slopes in the watershed will stop erosion, prevent sedimentation, and increase shading. In the future, the trees will provide large woody debris that studies have shown improves the habitat for fish. In addition, the project should increase public participation, help develop partnerships and provide educational opportunities for landowners. The species to be planted include willow, black cottonwood, bigleaf maple, Oregon ash, incense cedar, and white and black oak.

Pennsylvania: Two Rocks Run Wildfire Area

Seedling-loving deer are one of the main obstacles to be overcome on Pennsylvania's 10,000-acre Two Rocks Run wildfire area. In 1997, Penn ReLeaf volunteers plan to plant 3,000 red oak, black cherry, and white ash seedlings on 15 acres, and install protective tree shelters. The Pennsylvania Bureau of Forestry is supplying the seedlings, and the Hardwood and Plywood Veneer Association will help with shelters. This is the fourth year for this Global ReLeaf Forest project, which has already planted 5,500 trees at the fire site.

Rhode Island: Dyerville State Park

An illegal tire dump and motor-cross raceway at Rhode Island's Dyerville State Park will disappear with the planting of 10,000 eastern white pine and black locust on this Global ReLeaf Forest site. Organizers want to show Surrounding neighbors the value of trees and eventually provide an area for a variety of activities. A local nonprofit group, Rhode Island Tree Stewards, will be involved, as will at-risk youth from the Aniberg School for Reform and Chamber School in Providence. A planned containerized tree nursery is expected to help young people involved in a local "School to Work" program and provide an alternative work program for at-risk youth.

Texas: Lower Rio Grande Valley National Wildlife Refuge

This Global ReLeaf Forest, in Texas' Lower Rio Grande Valley, could have international effects. Organizers hope their efforts to link the less than 5 percent of the original habitat remaining on either side of the Rio Grande will benefit local plants and animals, including endangered species, and spur similar efforts on adjacent land in Mexico. The beneficiaries from what will be a total of 220,000 trees of 60 native species include: ocelots, red-headed parrots, and indigo snakes, as well as an increase in the potential for ecotourism and bird-watching. Global ReLeaf Forest funds in 1997 will support the planting of 21,200 trees on 100 of the site's 1,000 acres. Site preparation and most of the tree planting will be carried out by the nonprofit Cooperative Farmers Valley Proud Environmental Council; another nonprofit, the Audubon Sabal Palms Sanctuary, will help recruit volunteers.

Utah: Jordan River

There are few pieces of Salt Lake County's Jordan River flood plain that remain undeveloped; this project will return them to native forest. The 10,000 seedlings that will be planted on two sites will increase and enhance the migratory songbird and native animal habitat. Partnering with nonprofit TreeUtah in the project are Salt Lake County, volunteers from the University of Utah, and the Westminister College Plant Ecology Department.

Virginia: West Ox Road Park

The idea of regreening landfills is receiving more and more notice (see "A Dump No More," Autumn 1995), and proponents of the idea in Virginia are enthusiastic about the opportunities at an 80-foot-tall, 90-acre closed landfill in suburban Fairfax County, outside Washington, DC. Plans are to plant 18,000 seedlings of a variety of species including Virginia pine, tulip poplar, red maple, sycamore, and staghorn sumac in clusters across 20 acres of "habitat islands." Global ReLeaf Forest funds will support the planting of 9,000 seedlings in 1997 and another 9,000 in 1998. The benefits are many: reduced maintenance costs, improved aesthetics, and enhanced air and water quality, as well as cooler air in summer, reduced erosion, carbon storage, and mitigated stormwater runoff. The site, now covered by grass and weeds, is a time-consuming maintenance chore that poses a potential fire hazard and does little to prevent soil erosion. 'Organizers and Global ReLeaf Forest officials believe this project will show that reforesting closed landfills is feasible and practical. Officials hope the change at West Ox Road Park, as the site is now known, will educate the public, local governments, and the solid waste community, and foster appreciation for managing wasted public lands.

Washington: Nooksack Salmon Enhancement

This three-year project is restoring native trees and shrubs along 20 miles of stream banks in Whatcom County. At least 13,700 seedlings will be planted in several riparian restoration project sites by 1998. The project is intended to improve stream habitat and increase salmon populations. Nooksack Salmon Enhancement Association (NSEA) projects typically occur on private property with the involvement of the landowners, and it requires hard work by the Association to accommodate their wishes and still restore a viable riparian corridor. Project organizers hope that as the benefits from their work become more visible to county residents, planting projects will be extended and more landowners will want to participate.

Wisconsin: Black River State Forest

Three years of severe defoliation by the jack pine budworm has created a management problem on more than 10,000 acres of Wisconsin's Black River State Forest. This is the third year that Global ReLeaf Forests has helped with the planting of white, jack, and red pine in the forest. Plans for 1997 include planting seedlings on 260 acres. Planters will leave openings between the seedlings to enourage the natural regeneration of species such as aspen, oak, hazelbrush, and grasses to encourage wildlife. Other open areas will be managed as habitat for two of Wisconsin's endangered species - the Karner blue butterfly and the phlox flower moth.

Wyoming: Brokenback Diversity Unit

Historic and present-day uses, including the suppression of naturally occuring fires, have led to a decline in biodiversity on the west slope of the Big Horn Mountains. This Global ReLeaf Forest project seeks to reverse an ongoing trend: juniper woodlands encroaching upon ponderosa pine stands, forcing them out. This will be accomplished through a combination of prescribed fire, which will eliminate the heavy understory of juniper, and the replanting of 12,500 ponderosa pine seedlings on 25 acres. Much of the existing sagebrush will be converted to grasses and herbs. The project should benefit an elk herd that uses the area for its winter range. The North American Elk Foundation and Wyoming's Game and Fish Department will help fund the preparation work. Seedlings will be grown by the Bureau of Indian Affairs' nursery from seed collected along the mountains' western slope.

Global ReLeaf Forests will fund two projects in Canada in cooperation with the Tree Canada Foundation:

British Columbia: Operation Creekshade

Improving habitat for coho and chum salmon in the Abbotsford area of British Columbia and restoring streambanks there is the goal of Operation Creekshade. Erosion is causing muddy water and reducing the number of insects that live in the stream gravel - an important spring food source for salmon. Reintroducing trees will help absorb or filter excess nutrients that otherwise might flow into the stream. Also, shade provided by trees and shrubs along the riverbank keeps water temperatures low enough for young salmon and trout to thrive. A total of 75,000 native species - Sitka spruce, Douglas- and grand fir, and western red cedar - critical to the salmon's spawning will be planted on public and private sites by the Mennonite Central Committee-British Columbia and Project Ecoworks, in cooperation with the District of Abbotsford, Matsqui/Langley Soil Conservation Group, Stream Keepers, and the B.C. Department of Fisheries and Oceans.

Ontario: McKeough Floodway Reforestation

A project in Sombra Township will provide a major corridor for local and migratory wildlife. Called the McKeough Floodway Reforestation/Wildlife Habitat Enhancement project, it will plant 75,000 indigenous and noninvasive specie, across a 91-acre parcel that includes a floodplain and areas subject to erosion. Species will include maple, ash, oak, cedar, and white pine. The St. Clair Region Conservation Authority, which initiated the project, will be helped by the Farmers and Friends Conservation Club and the Wallaceburg and District Secondary School. This project will require extensive site preparation, including herbicide treatment, discing, mowing, and some hand weeding. Wildlife habitat area will be improved by the planting, which will provide a desirable "edge effect": mowed grassland, unmowed grassland, and forest. Combining these three ecosystems with water, natural woodlots, and fencerows will provide a major corridor for local and migratory wildlife.

If you would like to contribute to our 1997 Global ReLeaf Forests projects, part of Global ReLeaf 2000 - AMERICAN FORESTS' campaign to plant 20 million trees by the turn of the century - call 800/873-5323. Personalized certificates are sent for a minimum planting of ten trees.

Associate editor Kathryn Tenusak recently left FORESTS. Michelle Robbins is the magazine's editor.
COPYRIGHT 1996 American Forests
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1996, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Author:Robbins, Michelle
Publication:American Forests
Date:Sep 22, 1996
Words:3027
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