This year during the first week of April a total of 55,500 ponderosa pine trees were planted across the Dixie National Forest: 7,500 trees were planted on the Cedar City District; 13,000 trees were planted within the Toad and Corn Creek fire sites on the Escalante District and 35,000 trees were planted on the Bridge Fire site on the Powell District, near Tropic Reservoir. All three of these fire sites will receive additional plantings over the next several years. Later this spring, an additional 52,000 Engelmann spruce will be planted within the bark beetle killed spruce forests on the Cedar City District.
Fire can play a natural role that thins forests, reduces fuels and returns nutrients to the soil. However, sometimes these fires can burn through entire forest stands killing all or most of the trees. With few trees remaining to spread seeds for a new forest, natural regeneration of the forest may take a long time. “The reforestation of these burned and beetle stricken forest areas, in partnership with the Arbor Day Foundation, will accelerate the return of the desired tree cover to these areas, and ensure a healthy and resilient forest.” said Rob MacWhorter, Forest Supervisor.
Each year the Dixie National Forest plants from 400 to 500 acres of fire or bug killed areas, which require 125,000 to 150,000 seedlings. The process takes years of planning and environmental analysis; cone and seed collections; and a summer to grow seedlings at the USFS Lucky Peak Nursery in Boise, ID.
The reforestation from these tree plantings provides numerous benefits. More than 160 million Americans have healthy, clean drinking water thanks to our life-giving Forests. Our Forests clean our air, absorb carbon dioxide, provide vital habitat for wildlife, and create jobs. For more information on ways you can help plant a tree. www.arborday.org/replanting/help.cfm