Evers signs Executive Order increasing Wisconsin’s Trillion Trees Pledge goal

State now aims to plant 100 million trees by end of 2030, up from 75 million

For the Tomahawk Leader

WISCONSIN — Governor Tony Evers and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) this week announced that the state is increasing its Trillion Trees Pledge goal from planting 75 million trees by the end of 2030 to planting 100 million trees in that time.

Evers and DNR made the announcement on Earth Day on Monday, April 22 and in recognition of this week’s Forest Appreciation Week.

On Earth Day 2021, Evers signed Executive Order #112, joining the global Trillion Trees Pledge and committing to plant 75 million new trees in rural and urban areas and conserve 125,000 acres of forest in Wisconsin by the end of 2030 in collaboration with public, private and non-governmental partners.

“In just the third year of the pledge, Wisconsin has already achieved more than 40% of its original tree-planting goal,” a release from Evers’ office said. “With the increased pledge to 100 million new trees, the pledge would enable the state to store and exchange a total of 4.8 billion pounds of carbon dioxide per year in mature trees planted due to the state’s Trillion Trees Pledge alone, as according to the United States Department of Agriculture, in one year, a mature tree can store and exchange approximately 48 pounds of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.”

The release said this new goal will also aid Wisconsin in contributing to the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Governors and Premiers’ recently-announced pledge to plant 250 million trees over the next 10 years.

According to the Wisconsin Trillion Trees Pledge 2023 Annual Report, more than 9.8 million trees were planted, and more than 3,000 acres of forestland were conserved in Wisconsin last year.

Of the 9.8 million trees planted in 2023, the DNR supplied nearly 6.5 million of the seedlings planted, including more than 2.1 million that were planted on private lands; over 1.9 million that were planted on DNR, federal, Tribal and other public lands; more than 99,000 that were planted in county forests; more than 31,000 that were planted in school forests; and over 37,000 that were given to elementary school students last Arbor Day, according to the release, which noted that DNR’s reforestation program has supplied Wisconsin landowners with more than 1.6 billion seedlings since its founding in the early 1900s.

The release said DNR is coordinating the implementation of the pledge on behalf of the state through partnerships with private nurseries. Last year, private nurseries supplied an estimated 3.16 million trees planted throughout Wisconsin for conservation purposes, in addition to all the trees supplied by private nurseries for landscaping.

“Further, to support Wisconsin’s goal of planting one million trees in urban areas, the DNR is awarding $4 million to local governments, Tribal governments and nonprofit organizations through a competitive Urban Forestry Inflation Reduction Act grant program,” the release stated. “According to the DNR, a well-managed urban forest increases property values, reduces stormwater runoff and erosion, improves air quality and reduces energy used for heating and cooling.”

Applications are due early this summer, and awards will be announced in the fall, the release said.

“Since Day One, we’ve been working hard to protect Wisconsin’s vast and vibrant natural resources – from our acres of forest to our miles of shorelines – for future generations,” Evers stated. “That’s the future we’ve promised our kids, and that’s the future they deserve. Planting trees and conserving forestlands are simple but powerful tools to help store carbon dioxide, improve air quality, protect wildlife habitats and combat the climate crisis, all while supporting our statewide economies. At the core of this work is bolstering our workforce, supporting more conservation-focused jobs and giving folks opportunities to gain the skills and knowledge they need to care for our environment. … Conserving and growing our forests is critical to protecting our planet and our environment and allows us to better support our communities, our economy and our workforce.”

More information about the Trillion Trees Pledge, Wisconsin’s Tree Planting Map, the list of partners and the full report of 2023 accomplishments are available at www.dnr.wisconsin.gov/topic/forests/trillionTreesPledge.

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