Governor Tony Evers celebrated Earth Day by signing Executive Order No. 112. In an Earth Day pledge, Evers committed to working with public, private, and non-governmental partners to conserve 125,000 acres of forest land and plant 75 million trees by the end of 2030, while continuing to support the responsible management of public and private forestland across Wisconsin.
When fully realized, the state pledge will result in 28.8 million metric tons of carbon dioxide stored over the next 50 years. That is equivalent to the amount of carbon dioxide produced by six million passenger vehicles for a year.
“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,” Evers said in a news release.
Wisconsin’s tree pledge focuses on the stewardship of forests and trees in both rural and urban areas. Because urban forests are vital for the health of residents as well as the ecological and economic well-being of our communities, the pledge includes planting a million trees in Wisconsin towns, cities and suburbs by 2030.
Associated benefits of urban tree planting include improved public health, reduced city temperatures (heat islands), stormwater reduction, reduced heating and cooling costs, improved air quality, increased property values and other social, community, wildlife and economic co-benefits.
The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) will be coordinating the implementation of this pledge on behalf of the state of Wisconsin. The DNR’s forestry program began in 1904 with the hiring of Wisconsin’s first chief state forester and is committed to working with partners to manage Wisconsin forests to provide ecological, economic, social and cultural benefits for Wisconsin residents today and in the future.