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Mississippi Valley Reforestation, USA

Reforesting one million hectares of native woodland to restore one of North America’s most important ecosystems

Image sourced from Shutterstock
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Project overview

  • Region: North America

  • Project type: Forestry and landscapes

  • Standards: ACR

The project aims to reforest one million acres of the Lower Mississippi Alluvial Valley, an area which was once covered by 22 million acres of dense forest. As a result of sustained deforestation and agricultural land use conversion over the last 50 years, less than 20% of this forest remains. Landowners who voluntarily enrol in the project commit to planting and protecting trees, reducing an estimated 200 tonnes CO2 equivalent per acre. The project creates revenue for participants, brings jobs to the area, and enhances local water quality and biodiversity.

Sustainable Development Goals

In addition to delivering approximately 350,000 tonnes of emissions reductions annually to help take urgent action to combat climate change (SDG 13) and meet corporates' CarbonNeutral goals, the project delivers a number of other sustainable development benefits. These include:

  • Life on Land: Reforestation activities create a chain of environmental benefits, including helping protect against hurricane and flood damage, controlling soil and nutrient run-off, and improving the water quality of the Mississippi River. The forestland is also a vital habitat for numerous plant and animal species, particularly migratory birds.
  • Life Below Water: Large amounts of nitrogen and phosphorous leaching from agricultural land causes reduced oxygen levels in the water, leaving the area uninhabitable for much aquatic life. For every 100,000 acres of farmland restored to its natural forest, the release of 1,550,000 pounds of fertiliser into the Mississippi River - some of which could end up in the Gulf of Mexico - would be avoided annually.
  • Decent Work and Economic Growth: The project helps initiate sustainable tree harvesting, which creates jobs for harvesters, wood processors and those who support wood product production activities. 

The hardwood ecosystem of the Lower Mississippi Alluvial Valley is one of the most important on the North American continent

Restoration of temperate forests was found to have the twelfth greatest greenhouse gas reduction potential between 2020 and 2050

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