Private Forests on Earth Day: A Billion Acts of Green

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Facts about the many ways private U.S. forests help the environment and the economy.

This Earth Day, American's should realize that using a tree helps save a forest.

Earth Day 2011's theme is a Billion Acts of Green®, striving to generate a billion acts of environmental service and advocacy before Rio +20. U.S. forests, encompassing three-quarters of a billion acres of land, green our planet in billions of ways each and every year. For instance:

  •     1.6 billion: The number of trees planted on U.S. forests each year – 90% by private owners.
  •     9.6 billion: The cubic feet of net growth of U.S. forests in 2006. The U.S. has consistently grown more than it harvests since the 1940s.
  •     .8 billion: The metric tons of greenhouse gases that are sequestered in U.S. forests and forest products each year – enough to offset 15% of U.S. fossil fuel emissions.
  •     28.5 billion: The number of kilowatt hours of renewable electricity the forest products industry generates per year from wood – enough to power 3 million homes.
  •     132 billion: The gallons of fresh water filtered by U.S. forests each day.
  •     $102 billion: The total contribution of private U.S. forests to the economy.
  •     $87 billion: The payroll for the 2.9 million jobs supported by private U.S. forests.

David P. Tenny, President and CEO of the National Alliance of Forest Owners, said, "These are just a few examples of the many public benefits our private forests provide. This Earth Day, American's should realize that using a tree helps save a forest. 10 million Americans own 57 percent of our nation’s forests. Conserving these forests to help the environment and provide good paying jobs today and in the future requires both strong markets for forest products and a strong framework of environmental safeguards.

"Our forest environment is already the envy of the world. Now we need to strengthen the markets and support the jobs that help keep our forests intact. Strong markets will help forest owners afford to plant and cultivate trees and prevent them from being forced to sell their forest land for other uses. Today, more than ever, we should work to save our forests by promoting the beneficial use of trees. There are billions of reasons why this is a good idea."

For more information on the public benefits of private forests, from wildlife habitat to clean air and water to renewable forest products we all use every day, please visit or contact Dan Whiting at (202) 747-0746 or dwhiting(at)nafoalliance(dot)org.

NAFO is an organization of private forest owners committed to advancing federal policies that promote the economic and environmental benefits of privately-owned forests at the national level. NAFO membership encompasses more than 79 million acres of private forestland in 47 states. Private, working forests in the U.S. support 2.5 million jobs. To see the full economic impact of America’s working forests, visit


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