Evers pledges to plant 75 million trees by 2030

Published: Apr. 22, 2021 at 12:02 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - For Earth Day, Gov. Tony Evers committed to work towards planting 75 million trees across Wisconsin by the end of the decade. The pledge came as part of an executive order issued Thursday that also aimed to conserve 125,000 acres of forestland in the state.

While light on details for how to meet that goal, the order calls for state officials to work with both the public and private sector, as well as non-governmental partners, to get it done. It argues that planting trees, in both urban and rural settings, is one of the simplest and most powerful tools to trap carbon from the atmosphere and fight climate change.

“We value our forests for clean water, wildlife habitat, recreational opportunities and wood products. Wisconsin’s 17 million acres of forests are also a crucial tool in our fight to slow climate change if they remain as healthy, working forests,” Gov. Evers said.

Of the 75 million trees expected to be planted, an overwhelming percentage of them (64 million) would go toward restoring existing forestland, according to the Dept. of Natural Resources. Another nine million of the new trees would be planted to convert old agricultural land into new forests.

“Sustainably managing Wisconsin forests will not only generate climate change mitigation benefits, but also contributes $24.4 billion annually to Wisconsin’s economy, supports the health of our citizens and helps maintain the high quality of life that defines our state,” the governor continued.

The remaining million trees would be set aside for planting in the state’s cities and suburbs. The Evers Administration stated urban tree growth can improve public health, reduce temperatures and stormwaters, and increase property values, among other benefits.

According to the governor’s office, when all of the trees are planted and the forestland reclaimed, the effort will pull 28.8 million metric tons of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere over the next half-century. That’s equivalent to the amount of CO2 produced by six million cars in a year

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