Pennsylvania Public-Private Partnership to Plant 10 Million Trees by 2025


The Keystone 10 Million Trees Partnership is a partnership led by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) between national, regional, state, and local agencies, conservation organizations, outdoors enthusiasts, businesses, and citizens that have committed to improving Pennsylvania’s communities, economy, and ecology by planting of 10 million new trees in priority landscapes in Pennsylvania by the end of 2025.  Their goal is to plant them alongside rivers and streams to rebuild “riparian forest buffers” that can significantly reduce the amount of polluted runoff coming from those areas and improve soil health by keeping it on the land instead of in the water, as well as providing habitat for fish and other animals.

Why This Matters: Trees are a beloved part of our natural environment. We cannot say it better than the project’s partners: “[n]o matter where you live—on a farm, in the suburbs, or in a city—trees are a vital part of your quality of life. They supply oxygen, purify our air and water, reduce flooding, provide recreation, increase property values, and so much more.”  And the fact that it is a public-private partnership and shows a commitment by the state of Pennsylvania to help reduce its farm runoff into the Chesapeake Bay, which is a critical watershed for the mid-Atlantic region.  This is a win-win-win — due to its climate benefits, soil health improvements, and its contribution to clean water in streams, rivers, and even the Chesapeake Bay.  It could be a model for other states.  

Part of a Bigger Restoration Plan for Pennsylvania

In 2016, the state launched Pennsylvania’s Clean Water Blueprint, which called for roughly an additional 96,000 acres of new streamside forests, or riparian forest buffers, to be planted.  On the ground that meant planting 8.5 million new trees in key locations in cities, on farms and on abandoned mine land.  The partners then decided to round up to a total of 10 million.  The are planting native trees — there are more than 130 native tree species in Pennsylvania, including such popular types as the oak, hickory, maple, dogwood, redbud, sycamore, and honey-locust.

Benefits of the Partnership

These new trees provide important pollution reduction benefits from just farm runoff alone:

  • 4.6 million pounds of nitrogen reductions;
  • 22.2 million pounds of sediment reductions; and
  • 43,000 pounds of phosphorus reductions.

The project is being spearheaded by the CBF, but also involves the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR), the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture(PDA) and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) as well as local environmental and civic groups who will provide much of the labor to plant the trees.

To Go Deeper:  Check out this cool podcast about how trees are the oysters of the land with CBF President Will Baker and Baltimore Tree Trust Executive Director Dan Millender.

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