Forests are critical to life on earth. They filter our air and water, and also provide habitat for wildlife. Over the past few decades, a significant amount of our precious forests have been destroyed due to fires, insect infestations, disease, and weather. Efforts to revitalize this important resource are currently underway throughout the world to help ensure that our forests are adequate to support ongoing life and that they will be there to support our future generations.
In the U.S. our dedicated National Forest Service works hard each and every day to manage and preserve over 193 million acres of pristine land throughout the country. However, over the past few decades, much of its resources have been diverted to fighting forest fires, tree disease, and insect infestation, leaving much less funding and resources for replanting efforts. Replanting is key to the long-term survival of our forests – this is why the involvement and support of non-profits and other groups is critical.
The Living Urn is proud to be doing its part to help revitalize our forests. We’re working with the Arbor Day Foundation and for every Living Urn tree urn that is planted, we donate to plant a second tree in one of America’s forests in need of reforestation – this doubles the impact! A single tree produces approximately 260 pounds of oxygen per year, however, two mature trees can supply enough oxygen annually to support a family of four.
Mark Brewer, President of Biolife, LLC, owner of The Living Urn, commented, “We’re extremely proud of the impact our reforestation program has made and continues to make on our forests. Families love the idea that their loved one will not only give back with a tree memorial, but also be responsible for planting a second tree to help with reforestation efforts. Our program has resulted in the planting of thousands of trees over the past year and we’re currently reviewing opportunities to expand this program to make a more substantial impact on the revitalization efforts of our forests.”
The Living Urn’s program was launched just over a year ago and has focused on tree plantings in the Tahoe National Forest and Chippewa National Forest.
Revitalizing the Tahoe National Forest
The Tahoe National Forest is located Northeast of Sacramento in the central Sierra Nevada mountains and spans 850,000 acres. Over the past decade, fires have devastated significant portions of this amazing forest. Many areas were burned so severely that natural forest regeneration is not occurring, making replanting critical to reviving the forest. As part of reforestation efforts there, over 600,000 ponderosa pine, jeffrey pine, sugar pine, douglas fir, and incense cedar trees are currently being planted. This activity will help restore wildlife habitat and return natural beauty to this precious forest.
Reforestation at Chippewa National Forest
The Chippewa National Forest in Northern Minnesota spans over 650,000 acres. In the Summer of 2012 this beautiful forest faced a massive storm combined with devastating winds. This storm destroyed an estimated 95,000 acres of land and mature trees were snapped and uprooted. Replanting of this forest began in 2013 with red pine, white pine, white spruce, balsam fir, tamarack, oak, and cedar trees. Millions of trees have been replanted and efforts continue to keep the planting ongoing.
Beyond the obvious reasons of cleaning the air and providing oxygen to sustain life on earth, there are many other reasons why it is critical to keep our forests healthy and thriving. This includes:
- Watershed Protection. Many people don’t realize this, but more than half of Americans rely on forest watersheds for their clean drinking water. Natural water filtration provided by trees also reduces costs for drinking water treatment.
- Habitat for Wildlife. Birds, squirrels, deer and other animals rely on forests for food, shelter, and water. About one-third of all threatened or endangered species call the forests their home.
- Reduce Erosion. Trees reduce soil erosion caused by water and wind.
- Reduce Floods. Trees serve as a barrier to help reduce and prevent floods, which helps minimize sediment, nitrates and phosphorus runoff in key waterways.
- Carbon Sequestration. Our national forests sequester over 50 million metric tons of carbon annually.
- Improve Water Quality. Trees and our vast forests help to improve the quality of water in streams, rivers, and lakes. They also help protect waterways from the potential negative impact of adjacent land usage.
- Forests generate revenue from recreation and tourism. Every year the national forests in the U.S. receive 150 to 200 million visits.
- The restoration and maintenance of our forests creates new jobs and keeps existing jobs in place.
We rely on our forests, and with the destruction over the past few decades they need our help now. A key part of replanting a forest is to do it in a reasonable amount of time after a fire, insect infestation, disease or weather destroys it. If there is a long delay after destruction occurs, invasive species of trees and brush that are more fire prone typically take over creating additional risk to the forest in the future. With invasive species, wildlife lose their critical habitat, and watershed areas will not be able to provide clean water.
Join us as we work to plant trees and revitalize our forests!