Department of Conservation and Natural Resources employees and volunteers joined teams from across North America Wednesday in a record-setting bid by Sustainable Forestry Initiative Inc. to plant a quarter-million trees in one hour.
Sections of Tuscarora and Moshannon state forests have been selected for participation in this attempt to set a Guinness World Record for the “Most Trees Planted in One Hour.” From 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. May 20, Pennsylvania teams joined some 40 others across the United States and Canada in this tree-planting endeavor sponsored by the Sustainable Forestry Initiative Inc..
“Participating are a diverse group of young people, forestry industry representatives, community volunteers, and DCNR workers who all recognize our forests are critical to our health and the sustainability of our communities,” said DCNR Acting Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn. “Their efforts will go far beyond setting a record—they will be realizing the tangible rewards of volunteerism while helping to ensure healthy forests for the future.”
Hard hit by past gypsy moth infestation, a section of the Tuscarora State Forest District, headquartered in Perry County, is targeted for spruce and white pine seedling plantings.
Meanwhile, in Moshannon State Forest District, based in Clearfield County, the effort will focus on state forestland in Centre County that reclaimed after surface mining.
Seedlings for both plantings are being supplied by the Bureau of Forestry’s Penn Nursery in Spring Mills.
The acting secretary noted tree planting and forest regeneration efforts are vital to the Bureau of Forestry’s timber harvesting program which, in 2014, saw approximately 13,720 acres of timber felled on state forestlands.
“These contracts have a value of about $19.6 million in revenue for the commonwealth and supplied the raw materials for an estimated $400 million in private sector economic activity,” Dunn said. “The timber harvesting program provides renewable wood products to consumers; helps support local jobs and industry; creates early successional forests to enhance wildlife populations; and helps to maintain healthy forests.”
Volunteers of all ages pitched in today in the tree-planting exercise at Tuscarora State Forest.According to SFI estimates, forests across the nation are part of a vast green infrastructure that creates 2.4 million jobs; generates $87 billion in payroll; $223 billion in sales and adds $102 billion to the Gross Domestic Product. This includes harvesting trees for paper and timber products, and using forests for sport and recreation.
“This year the Pennsylvania SFI Implementation Committee is celebrating 20 years of work aimed at fostering an appreciation of forest conservation and management throughout the forest community in Pennsylvania,” said Chuck Coup, program manager with the Pennsylvania SFI Implementation Committee. “We think this is a terrific opportunity to bring recognition to the importance of our forests while also working to ensure their future."
“Whether they recognize the economic, recreational or aesthetic value of our forests, volunteers pitching in next week all know our woodlands’ environmental impact is immense,” said Bureau of Forestry Director Daniel Devlin, who will be joining the groups in next week’s plantings. “Forests offset carbon dioxide emissions by 12 percent and are the source of more than half of our drinking water supply. Not to mention the critical wildlife habitat they provide.”
Tuscarora State Forest volunteers met at Fowlers Hollow State Park, off Route 274 between Blain and New Germantown, Perry County. In Moshannon State Forest, volunteers gathered at a reclaimed surface mine site off Route 53, between Black Moshannon State Park and the town of Winburne, Clearfield County.
Official confirmation from Guinness World Records is expected in 6-8 weeks from Wednesday’s world record attempt.
The non-profit SFI works “to bring environmental, social and economic interests together to conserve healthy forests for future generations, while supporting the people and communities who depend on them today.”
Forestland certified to the SFI Standard covers a quarter-billion acres across North America.
For more information, visit the SFI Implementation Committee website. Visit DCNR’s State Forest Certification webpage for more information on sustainability certification for Pennsylvania’s State Forests by the Forest Stewardship Council.(Reprinted from the May 20 issue of the Resource newsletter from DCNR. Click Here to sign up for your own copy (bottom of the page).)