The Antigo Times reports that Governor Tony Evers celebrated Earth Day by “pledging to protect and restore Wisconsin’s forestland by conserving 125,000 acres and planting 75 million trees by 2030 as part of the U.S. Chapter of the Global Trillion Trees Initiative.”
When all these trees are planted, it will result in the storage of nearly 29 million metric tons of CO2 – “equivalent to the amount of carbon dioxide produced by six million passenger vehicles for a year” – over the next 50 years.
Urban forests “deliver additional carbon mitigation benefits through energy savings,” cooling down hot cities. Forests also offer recreational opportunities, provide wildlife habitat, improve water quality, and support the Wisconsin economy. This article notes that “forest products contribute $24.4 billion annually to Wisconsin’s economy, and forestry is the largest employer in seven counties across the state.”
To conserve 125,000 acres of existing forests, the state plans to rely on the Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program. This program will allow state, county, and local governments, as well as nonprofits like Wisconsin land trusts, to “continue acquiring forest land” and “obtain conservation easements, preventing the conversion of forestland to other land uses.”
To help keep Wisconsin’s forests as forests, be sure to contact your legislators and ask them to support renewal of the Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program!
Featured image by Louise Clemency with USFWS Midwest Region, 2014.