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Mississippi Valley Reforestation

Capturing carbon, supporting wildlife and protecting some of the most important watershed in the country

USA
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The Lower Mississippi Valley stretches across the former floodplains of the Mississippi River, from Cairo in southern Illinois to the river mouth in Louisiana. Historically, the Valley supported one of the world's largest contiguous tracts of floodplain forest; and it remains a vital wildlife corridor with 60% of North America's bird species migrating along the river. Over the last century, however, agriculture has encroached further and further into the forest nowadays just a fraction remains.

Location
United States
Type
Afforestation, Reforestation Revegetation (ARR)
Standards
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Sustainable Development Goals

6. Clean Water and Sanitation

Protecting freshwater systems

by allowing riparian trees and plants natural water filters to flourish

8. Decent work and economic growth

39+ jobs

created increasing opportunities for sustainable long-term employment

13. Climate Action

350,000 tonnes of CO2e

sequestered from the atmosphere on average each year

15. Life on land

96,015 acres

reforested so far, with a mixture of native hardwood and cottonwood trees

17. Partnerships for the goals

500 landowners

have partnered with the project to reforest their land

The Solution

The project works with over 500 landowners to plant trees on areas that have been in continuous agricultural use for decades. Ten species of fast-growing cottonwoods and native hardwoods are interplanted, including oak: the cottonwoods protect the hardwoods from direct sun, which speeds the growth of the hardwoods and can be used for sustainable biomass, providing another source of income to the landowners. To date, 42 million trees have been planted.

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The Impact

Working across an entire landscape, the project sequesters large amounts of carbon and generates further environmental benefits. Water quality is enhanced by the tree roots: they reduce soil erosion and sediment and absorb farm chemicals from groundwater and surface runoff, preventing contamination of streams. In fact, for every 1 acre of farmland that is reforested, 15.5 lbs/year of Nitrogen and Phosphorus will be kept out of the Mississippi River. Reforested land also provides protected habitat for local native wildlife such as waterfowl (60% of all US bird species migrate along the Mississippi). The project further enhances species biodiversity by improving ecosystem interconnectivity through unifying previously fragmented forested areas an effect that will enhance with time as the hardwood forests mature.

Project ID: 302264

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