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ReTree Nebraska is a 10-year cooperative initiative to raise public awareness of the value of trees, reverse the decline of Nebraska's community tree and forest resources and improve the health and sustainability of community trees and forests across our state for future generations.
The primary goal of ReTree Nebraska is to work in partnership with people across Nebraska to foster the proper planting and maintenance of 1 million new trees by 2017.
As residents of the Arbor Day state, Nebraskans recognize the value of trees. Forests foster economic development by supporting businesses, creating jobs and generating rural and urban income. Trees clean the air, extend the life of roads, save tax dollars by reducing the need for expensive “hard” infrastructure and reduce heating and cooling costs. In fact, properly placed trees can reduce cooling costs by up to 25 percent. Trees preserve “The Good Life” in Nebraska by creating more livable communities situated in a predominantly agricultural landscape. Click here for more information about the role community forests play in creating more livable communities.
Nebraska’s community tree resources have steadily declined in recent decades. A combination of severe weather events (1991 freeze, 1997 snowstorm, 2007 ice storm, tornadoes and high winds), chronic drought, poor planting practices, poor species selection, the rapid spread of pine wilt and a preponderance of older trees nearing or past their average life span have severely reduced the number of trees in our communities across the state. Trends gleaned from more than 200 community tree inventories conducted by the Nebraska Forest Service since 1977 show that the state has lost approximately one half of its community tree resource since the late 1970s. Fewer community trees mean fewer benefits and a reduced quality of life in our towns and cities.
In addition to recent tree losses, an invasive pest called emerald ash borer (EAB) has the very real potential to kill most of the state’s ash trees, resulting in a potential loss of 25 percent, or more, of the existing community forest resource in many communities. This canopy loss equates to approximately 2.2 million ash trees with an estimated value of $120.8 million annually. Ultimately, the total costs for removing and replacing urban ash trees killed by EAB in Nebraska could reach $1.65 billion! Most experts agree that it is not a matter of IF EAB will arrive in Nebraska, but rather WHEN. When it arrives, the state will endure catastrophic losses not only in our community forests, but in conservation plantings and native forests as well. For more information about EAB click here.
Follow the links to the left to learn more about ReTree Nebraska, the benefits of trees and how you can get involved. We also would like to hear about your tree planting projects so we can count them toward the goal of 1 million trees planted in Nebraska communities by 2017!
To receive updates about ReTree Nebraska, as well as tree tips, sign-up for our free electronic listserv click here.