Restoring an Ecosystem One Tree at a Time
This Earth Day, Scientific American is working with the Arbor Day Foundation to reforest the Mississippi River Valley region.
The Arbor Day Foundation is working with public and private partners to reforest areas of Arkansas, Mississippi, Louisiana, Kentucky, Illinois, Missouri, and Tennessee. This bottomland hardwood ecosystem is one of the most important critical wetland resources on the North American continent.
The region is a vital habitat for migratory birds—40% of North America’s waterfowl and 60% of all bird species migrate along the Mississippi River—and numerous plant and animal species, but the wetlands’ original 25 million acres of forestland have been reduced to less than 5 million acres.
The Arbor Day Foundation’s goal is to create forests that landowners will permanently maintain through financial incentives such as carbon credit sales, wood products, and recreational services as well as the ecological benefits of restoring wildlife habitat.
These planting efforts will directly improve water quality. The restored forestland will filter the water and help to decrease pollution levels in the Mississippi River and Gulf of Mexico. The U.S. Geological Survey has estimated that 100,000 acres of farmland restored to its natural bottomland forest could filter 1,550,000 pounds of nitrogen and phosphorous out of runoff and groundwater before it reaches the Mississippi River each year.
HOW YOU CAN HELP:
It’s simple! For every digital subscription we sell, we will plant one tree, through the Foundation that will revitalize the river valley so that life can flourish there for generations to come.