American Forests Joins The Climate Dialogue

In 2023, the urgency to combat climate change has reached unprecedented levels. Rising global temperatures, extreme weather events and the loss of biodiversity threaten the very fabric of our planet. This is the defining crisis of our time, and forests are both a victim and an essential part of the solution.

Forests play a crucial role in addressing the climate crisis, combating extreme heat, protecting ecosystems, and ensuring the health and wellbeing for all communities. Recognizing this, in 2023 American Forests is harnessing unprecedented federal investments in forests and climate change to mobilize movements for scaling forest-climate solutions, resilient reforestation and Tree Equity in America's cities.

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Trees as Nature-Based Solutions to Climate Change and Lifesaving Infrastructure

Our roots trace back to a group of concerned citizens who came together in response to rapid post-Civil War development and devastation caused by intense wildfires. Over the course of our history, American Forests has played a crucial role in shaping forest policies and conservation efforts in the U.S.
We started the ideas for a national forest system and the U.S. Forest Service – vital components of forest management and science in the country, and we created the nation’s first conservation periodical for disseminating both knowledge and awareness of our forests and the challenges, opportunities and threats they face.
American Forests also played a foundational role in expanding national forests as well as urban forests, working to protect both natural ecosystems and expanding the presence of trees within cities and towns.

Our core tenets – Trees as a vital climate mitigation and climate justice tool

Trees as a Solution: American Forests firmly believes that trees can play a pivotal role in addressing two major crises: climate change and social justice. Trees act as a natural climate solution by absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, capturing nearly 15% of U.S. carbon dioxide emissions every year and mitigating the impacts of global warming. We believe America's forests can contribute even more to addressing the climate crisis if we maximize investments that boost their health and resilience. Science tells us they have to.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change concludes that removing carbon from the atmosphere, including through natural solutions such as reforestation, is essential to meeting global climate change goals. Simply, climate change cannot be solved with trees alone, but it cannot be solved without them.
In the U.S., reforestation is the largest natural climate solution, with up to 148 million acres identified as available and ready for tree planting. American Forests has pioneered tree planting and reforestation on a national scale to address pressing environmental and social challenges, particularly in the face of climate change.
Resilient Restoration: We have funded over 1,000 forest restoration projects across every state, contributing to the planting of 67 million trees and expanding tree canopy in major cities. We are a leader in climate-smart reforestation that focuses on planting the right trees in the right places in the right ways, supporting resilience in regenerating forests so they can adapt to a changing climate.
Tree Equity and Social Justice: American Forests coined the term Tree Equity and helped create the urban forestry movement. According to our Tree Equity Score analysis of 2,600 urban areas in the United States, communities of color tend to have 38% less tree cover and are over 10°F hotter than white communities, and lower income neighborhoods have 28% less cover and are almost 7°F hotter than wealthier ones.
To answer this, we created an entire toolbox around the Tree Equity Score to help cities and communities develop their own initiatives. We are creating career opportunities in urban forestry to meet the labor gap in this critical field. To fund the movement, we helped unlock $1.5 billion for urban and community forestry through the Inflation Reduction Act, and are scaling it up via the new Tree Equity Alliance.
Coalitions are Essential: American Forests collaborated with the World Economic Forum to co-lead the U.S. chapter of a global initiative committed to conserving, restoring and growing one trillion trees by 2030. This ambitious effort involves partnerships with corporations, government entities and nonprofit organizations to tackle climate change and promote social equity through tree planting. We are also leaders in the Forest Climate Working Group and Tree Equity Alliance, believing that no one organization alone can deliver forest/climate solutions at scale, and deliver equitable tree cover and climate justice to cities and communities.

Bolstering our potential – Activating the historic opportunities presented by federal legislation

The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 and the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021 – which contained the transformative REPLANT Act – are landmark pieces of legislation that are fundamentally changing how America is responding to the climate crisis. American Forests played a crucial role in analyzing the climate mitigation benefits of the forest provisions of these bills and advocating for their passage into law. Together, these bills invest over $14 billion in forests and are already having a big climate impact, with more to come. It’s projected that by 2030, the forest-climate provisions alone in these bills will amount to a carbon removal benefit equivalent to the emissions from 29% of all U.S. home energy use for one year.
In 2023, American Forests is advancing implementation of two of the most significant components of nature-based climate solutions spurred by these historic pieces of legislation. As part of our tireless advocacy efforts, the Inflation Reduction Act included the largest investment in Tree Equity ever, a $1.5 billion fund dedicated to helping disadvantaged communities via the US Forest Service's Urban & Community Forestry program. In turn, American Forests has also secured $50 milllion of these impactful dollars to support frontline communities and under-resourced cities across the country to advance Tree Equity.
Complementarily, we are leading implementation of the REPLANT Act, enacted as part of the infrastructure law to provide the Forest Service the funding it needs to reforest and recover in the wake of a multi-million-acre backlog in the National Forest System exacerbated by climate change. In 2023, we are advancing a $20 million leadership partnership with the Forest Service to ramp up implementation of the REPLANT Act and restore forests following wildfire with climate-adapted and -resilient reforestation techniques.
With these supporting investments, expanding initiatives and continued partnerships, American Forests is excited to showcase the reforestation and carbon sequestration solutions that we’ll be putting into action and covering in the future!

Our Forest Carbon Modelling:

Forest Carbon Modelling aims to help us better assess the carbon sequestration capabilities of our forests, so we can more accurately and reliably lean on their ability to capture carbon. Our carbon modeling work aims to create “detailed models to project how different forest management actions and natural disturbances will affect carbon capture and storage at state and regional levels.”
This in turn will give individual states the insight and knowledge needed to more accurately manage their forests for maximum carbon sequestration and forest longevity at the forefront.

The Tree Equity Alliance:

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Because Tree Equity is an essential part of climate and health justice, American Forests has formed an intersectional coalition of national and community partners dedicated to this issue. Together, American Forests and its founding partners, GreenLatinos, Groundwork USA and One Tree Planted, will quickly expand the Tree Equity Alliance to create a unified, amplified voice for Tree Equity and deliver the benefits of trees to 100 cities by 2030. It is backed by $5-10 million dollars worth of investment that aims to plant 20,000 trees in low-Tree Equity Score communities in the U.S.

Seed September:

With smarter data, better investments and ambitious plans of our own, we’re also turning toward movement-building; in other words, the galvanization of other organizations or communities into activities like ours. To that end, we raised the profile of the seed shortage crisis with a month-long campaign for the past two Septembers, motivating groups and individuals to educate themselves on the tree seed shortage crisis and find ways to get involved. It all starts with seed, without which we cannot ramp up a reforestation movement across the country. Learn more about our initiatives and history here:

  • Patrick Kiash

    36 w

    Great to know the crucial role that you are playing.. and the solutions you are having. I'm looking forward to a walk journey with you and learning more from you. Indeed trees are part of solutions that we can't do away without-:)

    • Munene Mugambi

      37 w

      It's time we heed the cals from our forests to protect them and ensure ecosystem protection and thriving

      • George Kariuki

        37 w

        American Forests is playing a vital role in addressing the climate crisis and promoting social equity.

        • walter lungayi

          37 w

          The urgency to combat climate change is evident, and it's encouraging to see organizations like American Forests taking action. Forests are indeed a crucial part of the solution, as they help regulate temperatures, protect ecosystems, and promote the well-being of communities. It's important for all sectors to come together and prioritize sustainable practices to address this defining crisis of our time.

          • Abraham Jok Atem

            37 w

            Forests attracts rain so it's important to preserve them

            • Edwin wangombe

              37 w

              forests are the cure to the climate crisis pandemic

              • Rotich Kim

                37 w

                Forest is of great significant to our environment

                • john linus Tom

                  37 w

                  @rotich_kim very true

                • Videlis Eddie

                  37 w

                  this is awesome as forests play a vital role in reducing the levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere

                  • Gorffly mokua

                    37 w

                    This is great news!💚

                    Welcome, let's solve the climate crisis together
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