In August we celebrated with one million U-Haul customers who helped The Conservation Fund’s Go Zero® program plant hundreds of thousands of trees across the Lower Mississippi River Valley and protect redwood forests in Northern California. While we know that restoring and protecting forests is critical to our environment, sometimes a fallen tree can also serve an important role.
When urban trees die, are struck by storms, or affected by pests, they create an astounding 16 million tons of green waste a year. Tree removal and the subsequent waste can be expensive and time consuming for local city parks departments.
Luckily, green entrepreneurs, like Connecticut brothers Ted and Zeb Esselstyn, have found a special way to salvage some trees that would normally be destined for the mulch pile or landfill. They started City Bench – creating unique hand-crafted furniture and art out of once standing trees. Because The Conservation Fund understands that new green businesses sometimes need a leg up, its Natural Capital Investment Fund provided an equipment loan to City Bench that allowed it to expand and continue creating unique works of art. Now, unwanted or damaged trees can become a beautiful elm bar made from and old elm that once graced the New Haven Green.
Sustainable forestry is not just about planting trees. It is about managing the entire ecosystem of the forest. And sometimes this ecosystem relies on fallen trees to maintain the delicate balance of nature and the biodiversity the forests hold. For example, fallen trees are important to endangered Coho salmon on California’s North Coast. In the redwood forests, a tree that has fallen wood into the streams will improve habitat for this endangered species. The tree laying in the creeks and rivers can provide overhead shelter, create larger and deeper pools, and slow down the water in the winter to give fish places to hide. Strategically ensuring that fallen logs are in the creek channels helps to create a positive impact on streams and forest ecosystem, and is critical the protection of Coho salmon.
The work of The Conservation Fund would not be possible without the support of our donors, like U-Haul customers, who are helping Go Zero both plants trees and support proper forest management, ultimately growing beautiful, healthy forests for all to enjoy.
Can you name any additional benefits of fallen trees? Share them with us in the comments section below!
As Director of Corporate Partnerships and Director of Go Zero, Jena Thompson Meredith has combined entrepreneurial vision and conservation ideals for a decade at The Conservation Fund. Jena has led initiatives with Dell, Delta, Mercedes-Benz USA, The North Face, Travelocity, U-Haul, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, and many others. She holds a BA in English from the University of Texas.