The National Forest Foundation is a nonprofit organization that aims to protect and preserve National Forests and Grasslands.
The NFF has made huge strides in reforestation. In the past year, the organization has planted over 8 million trees — of 25 different species — and reforested over 21,000 acres of land.
In a blog post on their website, NFF Reforestation Program Manager Monica Perez-Watkins explained that 21,000 acres is akin to “roughly 198,450 NBA basketball courts worth of public lands.”
Pest infestations, drought, and wildfires make it difficult for forests to regenerate on their own, which is why NFF’s grant work is so vital. Tree planting and reforestation efforts lead to cleaner air, cleaner water, and healthier ecosystems.
Additionally, NFF also aids in wildfire prevention. Again, in the past year, the organization raised $117 million towards fire mitigation in the North Yuba Landscape of the Tahoe National Forest. The mitigation efforts involve reducing a large number of trees to prevent wide-spread forest fires.
When trees grow too closely to one another, they are forced to compete for resources. This leads to weakened trees that take to wildfires like kindle.
Droughts and record-high temperatures place forests at higher risk for wildfires, but intentional tree cuttings can help prevent catastrophe.
“People will have to get used to seeing a less dense forest because that's a healthy forest,” Millar told CBS News. “But right now, they're pretty dense and pretty crowded, and I think that's mistakenly thought of as being normal.”
Overall, 2023 has been a busy year for the foundation.
In August alone, the foundation helped raise $1 million to make the Highline trail in Arizona more accessible to hikers, funded a restoration project to save a population of salmon in Alaska, and provided a grant for llama-riding wildlife preservers to comb through the backcountry of Colorado.
In addition to recent fundraising efforts, the NFF continues working with the US Forest Service to provide 193 million acres of woodlands to the public.
Amidst growing worry for environmental loss and climate disasters, NFF gives tree-huggers hope for a healthier, happier planet.