The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that the Biden administration intends to plant more than a billion trees across numerous forests in the country.
According to the USDA, the project aims to help restore millions of acres of burned and dead woodland across the country, while authorities also continue to combat the growing damage that wildfires, insects, and other manifestations of climate change are wreaking on the nation’s woods.
“Our climate adaptation plans represent a blueprint for how we account for the risks our changing climate has on those groups most vulnerable to its effects – America’s farmers, ranchers, forest landowners, and rural communities,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.
The Forest Service intends to increase operations from the roughly 60,000 acres (24,000 hectares) replanted last year to approximately 400,000 acres (162,000 hectares) annually over the next two years in order to clear the backlog of destroyed forest acreage.
The project will cost more than $100 million on reforestation efforts for this year alone. According to the expansive federal infrastructure package passed last year, spending might rise to $260 million annually in the upcoming years.
With 5.6 million acres burned by fires in the US so far this year, 2022 is on track to equal or surpass the record-breaking 2015 fire season, which saw 10.1 million acres (4.1 million hectares) burn.
Along with the reforestation plan, Vilsack also unveiled 13 new USDA agency climate adaptation plans, which describe how each USDA agency will take climate change into account when operating and making decisions in order to support communities, agriculture, and forests across the country.
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