Earth Day (a global event with more than 1 billion participants ) is the largest civic-focused day of action in the world. With so many rapid changes happening all around us, it is becoming more and more apparent that every action we take in the next 20 years will be crucial to the future life of this planet.
Trees occupy approximately 30.6% of the Earth’s land, down from 31.6% in 1990. [ From 2015 to 2016, the world lost 73.4 million acres of forests ] These forests provide essential resources for the planet - clean water, clean air, wildlife habitat, and sustainable wood supplies. As climate change, insects, and forest fire continue to add to the decline of our forests, landowners need access to the right programs and resources to help keep their forests healthy for generations to come.
WoodsCamp connects eligible landowners to potential funding programs that help protect and restore healthy forests, create cleaner watersheds, and improve wildlife habitats.
Here are some of the programs that may be available to you to help contribute to forest conservation across America:
- ShortLeaf Pine Restoration (Al)
- LongLeaf Pine Restoration (Al)
- Strategic Habitat For Aquatic Species (Al)
- Oak Forest Restoration (Wi)
- Migratory Song Bird Habitat (Wi)
- Slow the Flow (Wi)
- Protecting the forest from wildfire (Or)
Shortleaf pine, a native species to the Cumberland Plateau, has seen a large decline over the past five decades due to fire exclusion and regeneration of the more commercially viable Loblolly Pine. In 1972, there were 1.7 million acres of Shortleaf in Alabama, whereas in 2013 there were fewer than 200,000 acres – a staggering 88% decrease. Without it, the remaining mix of trees are not likely to sustain all of the endangered species that rely heavily on these native trees for food and shelters. Technical and financial assistance is available to eligible landowners to help cover the cost to replant and restore the shortleaf pine ecosystems.
With more acres restored, more habitats are established and reinstated. Landowners are beginning to see more of the deer, turkey, and birds that so many of them value their property for. The limits do not end with the land though. With these plantings, the cleanliness of the local water increases as well, leading to more aquatic species flourishing.
Longleaf pine forests once encompassed more than 90 million acres across the Southeast, stretching from eastern Texas through central Florida to southern Virginia. These forests represent some of the world’s most unique and biologically diverse ecosystems. They are home to an estimated 900 different plant species and provide habitat to about 100 bird species, 36 mammal. Assistance may be available to eligible landowners, helping them identify and implement a variety of conservation practices to restore, improve, or maintain understory and over-story of longleaf pine ecosystems.
Ethel and Jamastican Parham have worked with their local NRCS (Natural Resources Conservation Services) staff to manage longleaf stands in their certified Treasure Forest in Sunny South, Alabama.
Alabama is home to several priority watersheds and river corridors. These watersheds are essential ecosystems that provide drinking water and habitats for many fish species that we depend on. Assistance may be available to eligible landowners to focus activities for the management, recovery, and restoration of your forest to help protect water quality, and the populations of rare fish, mussels, snails, and crayfishes.
Oak forests create a unique habitat for Wisconsin wildlife such as deer, the endangered Iowa Pleistocene snail, as well as a variety of songbirds. Oak forests are also an important ecosystem for soil quality, watersheds, and food production for wildlife. These trees are also significant forest products for the economy in Wisconsin, benefiting local forest industries and landowners through their high-value lumber. The increase of residential development has caused the overall size of the oak forests in the region to shrink, and the land to become parcelized. This, alongside other factors (such as oak wilt disease) has prevented oak regeneration to sustain the rate of harvest. Assistance is available to eligible landowners to help them connect with foresters, write management plans, and take the necessary steps towards oak regeneration and habitat improvement.
Migratory Songbirds like the Golden-winged Warbler need healthy forests to thrive. Certain regions in Wisconsin are located within priority regions for migratory song birds. Working with a forest professional or wildlife biologist is a great way to meet your goals for the land while promoting the conditions needed by song birds and many other wildlife species.
Our partners are offering eligible landowners a free woods walk with a professional forester or wildlife biologist who can make recommendations for activities on your land that can help improve wildlife habitat and meet your goals for your forest. They may even be able to help you access funding to complete habitat improvement on your land.
Help keep Wisconsin’s streams healthy for now and future generations. The streams flowing through parts of the Northwoods are susceptible to flash flows and erosion of the clay soils that are common in the area. This can damage water quality, fish habitat, and even land values. How you manage your forest can play an important role in slowing the flow of water and stabilizing soils to keep the water clean.
Our partners are offering eligible landowners a free woods walk with a professional forester or wildlife biologist, who can make recommendations for activities on your land that can help you protect water quality, improve wildlife habitat, and meet your goals for your forest. They may even be able to help you access funding to support work on your land.
As environmental changes are happening around us, the increased risk of forest fire has become a threat to many private woodland owners. To help reduce the risk of wildfire on your land, funding is available for eligible landowners to preform management activities by thinning trees, pruning dead branches, doing controlled burns, and reducing fuels to make the forest healthier and less likely to be severely impacted by wildfire.
"The biggest lesson from the first Earth Day: When we come together, the impact can be monumental. Go green with us by making small changes that add up to making a big difference. Commit to earth-friendly acts, make more sustainable choices, reduce your carbon footprint, conserve energy and resources, collaborate on environmental projects in your community, vote for leaders committed to protect us and the environment, and share your acts of green to help educate and inspire others to join our movement! Start protecting our environment today and help us create a healthy, more sustainable future." - Earth Day
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