Planting Trees with Congressman Panetta in Support of the Replant Act
Meaghan Weeden | April 19, 2021 | 4 min read
The REPLANT Act: An exciting New Bill that aims to fund reforestation in National Forests
We're thrilled to have had the opportunity to plant coast live oaks in Toro park with congressman Panetta! Congressman Panetta is a co-sponsor of the REPLANT Act, which will help the U.S. Forest Service plant 1.2 billion trees and create nearly 49,000 jobs over the next ten years to address the growing backlog of nearly two million acres of national forestland in need of reforestation. This is an issue that is compounded by climate change and is expected to only increase as droughts, diseases, forest fires and more continue to degrade United States National Forests. We were also joined by SPCA Monterey County, who rescued over 1,400 animals from the wildfire that burned near this planting site.
What is the REPLANT Act?
In 1980, U.S. Congress created the Reforestation Trust Fund to plant trees in national forests after natural disturbances like wildfires. It’s replenished by tariffs on wood products and is capped at $30 million annually. Today, the need for reforestation has severely outpaced the funding that's available, contributing to a growing backlog of nearly 2 million acres that need immediate restoration.
The REPLANT Act would remove the current $30 million funding cap and direct all wood product tariffs to the Reforestation Trust Fund. At an average $123 million per year, this would effectively quadruple the amount of funding available for vital reforestation efforts across the country. And the nice thing is that it won’t change the list of products, increase the tariffs, or use taxpayer dollars — in other words, it only uses funds that are already being collected.
The legislation also directs the United States Forest Service to develop a 10-year plan and cost estimate to address the backlog of reforestation needs on national forest land by 2031. It also will prioritize land in need of reforestation due to natural disasters that are unlikely to regenerate naturally on their own — which is increasingly the case after high-intensity, stand-replacing wildfires in California and elsewhere.
How will this Impact Reforestation in the United States?
The REPLANT Act will help reforest 4.1 million acres by planting 1.2 billion trees over the next 10 years. This will sequester 75 million metric tons of carbon in just one decade, the equivalent to leaving 8.5 billion gallons of gasoline in the ground. And as you know, from cleaning the air to stabilizing soils and improving their health, filtering water and improving water quality, creating habitat for biodiversity, creating jobs, improving human health, increasing our climate change resiliency, and more, trees and reforestation have a slew of other benefits.
Speaking of jobs, a recent report from American Forests found that the REPLANT Act would create nearly 49,000 jobs over the next 10 years. In other words, this act would have a profound impact on local economies and reforestation overall in the United States by leveraging funds that are already available. One Tree Planted is proud to support this ambitious plan to help with much-needed restoration in our National Forests!
A long track record of planting trees in national forests
Working in partnership with the United States Forest Service, we've planted over 4.4 million trees in National Forests through 23 projects, with 21 new projects happening in 2021! One such project is the Hiawatha restoration in Michigan, where we're planting 268,200 trees to reforest 233 acres of land in a priority conservation zone.
The Hiawatha National Forest is a rare and treasured landscape, with Northern Hardwoods, White Pine and Hemlock foresting its rolling hills, and Red Pine, Jack Pine and Aspen spread over its flatland. The Forest, located between three of the Great Lakes, has been left vulnerable to extreme weather conditions, insect infestation and consequently declining tree diversity. This in turn is degrading the entire ecosystem, including critical habitat and migration corridors for wildlife.
The project will begin in May, with planting happening until the beginning of July. The trees planted will contribute to the health of the overall forest and, more specifically, restore habitat and migration corridors for critical wildlife species, provide rich land for future recreational use, conserve sensitive water sources, and more!
With broad bipartisan support, we’re hopeful that the REPLANT Act will pass. In the meantime, if you'd like to support reforestation in National Forests, plant a tree in a National Forest today!