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Happy Arbor Day!

With all the talk about the importance of not destroying hundreds of acres of forest for the proposed power plant we thought it was important to highlight World Arbor Day today Friday, April 28th.

Arbor Day History

Each year many Rhode Islanders sign up to receive a free tree to plant on their property in recognition of Arbor Day.  This year will be no different as the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) and the Arbor Day Foundation are offering up to 1,000 free trees on a first come first serve basis.  Rhode Islanders will join many others on a global scale as we continue a tradition set by J. Sterling Morton in 1872.

The positive impact trees have on the environment is something that goes undisputed by all.  In fact, over 30 countries celebrate a version of Arbor Day each year (Arbor Day World Dates).  Even National Grid is getting involved by sponsoring the Arbor Day Celebration planned for April 28th at Mount Pleasant High School.

The significance of forests is so widely understood that it is the backbone of the Rhode Island State Land Use Policies and Plan.  The excerpt from the plan below illustrates the role our forests play in our fight against climate change and controlling our emissions: 

 

Forests are believed to have a significant role in reducing greenhouse gases and enhancing air quality. In the forest, carbon is stored as biomass in vegetation. One potential mechanism to offset carbon emissions is by increasing carbon sequestration in forests.

As Rhode Island plans for the impacts of climate change and agencies and groups work to make our state resilient, we need to keep in mind that one thing we could do to benefit not only Rhode Island but the whole region is to protect our forests.

How can we help protect our forests and trees?

Since we are all in agreement of the importance of our forests we urge all of you to do your part and participate in the Arbor Day festivities.  Sign up early to be one of the lucky who will get one of the 1,000 free trees that will be given out.  If you are not lucky enough to get one of the free trees go to your neighborhood nursery and pick out your own to plant.  We have the chance to add 1,000 new trees to our beautiful state….or we could take another approach and help save ~480,000 existing trees within one of Rhode Island’s most pristine forests instead.

Clear River Energy Center Impact

According to the United States Department of Agriculture (The New England Forest: Baseline for New England Forest Health Monitoring) the average forest in New England includes ~4,800 trees per acre (~200 mature trees and ~4,600 saplings).  The proposed Clear River Energy Center would destroy ~ 100 acres of one of the most heavily forested areas in our state.

This equals:

  • 480,000 trees that will be removed from our state.
  • 480,000 less trees to fight the impact of our greenhouse gases and emissions.
  • 480 more Arbor Days to reach the number of trees impacted by the CREC Project.

You see, these things matter and the proposed Clear River Energy Center would set us back right when we need to be investing to protect ourselves.

Let’s get out there and plant trees and protect our forests that help protect us!

Additional Information:

Arbor Day Celebration

DEM, Arbor Day Foundation Offer Free Trees to Homeowners

Keep Rhode Island Beautiful

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