Trees for US – Why Restoring Our National Forests Matter

With tree planting efforts, we hope to restore all of the Ocala National Forest back to this.

With tree planting efforts, we hope to restore all of the Ocala National Forest back to this.

The Ocala National Forest is the southernmost forest in the continental United States. It covers over 383,000 acres of land and includes over 600 lakes, rivers, and springs.  This forest, which was founded in 1908, provides a sanctuary for several different species of animals, as well as an escape for the millions of residents in Tampa and Orlando.

In the 15th century, before Columbus discovered America, there was probably around 92 million acres of longleaf pine. Today, there are less than 3 million acres of these trees left. If we don’t do something about this, not only are we going to be losing an amazing tree, we’re going to lose the ecosystems that are associated with those trees.

Animals such as endangered Bald Eagles need the longleaf pine to thrive. Florida Scrub Jays, Gopher Tortoises, Sherman’s Fox Squirrel, all of these animals depend on these trees for shelter, food, and even water. Perhaps the most important, and endangered, animal to live in the Ocala National Forest is the Red-Cockaded Woodpecker.

The Red-Cockaded Woodpecker lives in the Southeastern US, primarily in the Ocala National Forest. Unfortunately,  only 2% of their original habitat remains. Only 2%! In 1990 there were seven pairs of these birds, today there are 98 groups. Slowly, they are coming back, but they need the longleaf pine ecosystem to survive.

This is where you come in. When you buy your deck from, we’re going to donate a dollar to the National Forest Foundation. This dollar pays for the planting of one longleaf pine seedling in the Ocala National Forest. This dollar is then matched by the US Forest Service, because the Ocala National Forest is part of the Treasured Landscapes, Unforgettable Experiences Campaign. This extra dollar goes towards all of the other expenses that are associated with tree planting efforts.

To learn more about our partnership with the National Forest Foundation visit today!

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