Poplarville, MS (September 19, 2007)- Free native trees will be available for both public and private properties this winter through the Replant South Mississippi Program. Replant South Mississippi is a partnership between the Land Trust for the Mississippi Coastal Plain and the Sun Herald, with funding assistance from the Mississippi Forestry Commission, The Home Depot Foundation, and other sources. The purpose of the partnership is to restore the tree canopy greatly damaged by Hurricane Katrina, working together to enhance the public view and diversify the urban forest across the six southern counties of Mississippi.
The partnership will work with local communities to create a plan and to provide fast-growing native trees for public spaces, as well as privately owned lands with public views. The plan includes the creation of an education program about the importance of trees and their care and will monitor plantings to ensure long term success. Replant South Mississippi is working with local communities to leave a legacy of urban forests for future generations.
The foundation was created on Feb. 9, 2006 by the Sun Herald and the Land Trust for the Mississippi Coastal Plain. Its mission is to replace thousands of trees lost when Hurricane Katrina struck South Mississippi Aug. 29, 2005. The goal of the foundation is to replant 300,000 trees in three years in the six coastal counties.
In addition, the Mississippi Urban Forest Council is providing 12 hours of free urban forestry training on Nov. 1 and 2 at Pearl River Community College. The training will cover topics such as site/tree selection, tree maintenance, tree protection and proper methods of planting trees.
Trees improve air and water quality, reduce flooding, reduce cooling and heating energy needs, increase property values and improve quality of life for people around them. Crime rates are lower in areas with many trees, and businesses that provide tree shaded parking in summer experience 10 percent more shoppers than businesses that don’t have shaded parking.
The Mississippi Forestry Commission estimates that 1.5 million trees were damaged by Katrina and that a half million were destroyed across the state. The six southernmost counties suffered most of the losses, especially to large oak and pine trees. An excess of 300,000 trees were killed by Katrina or by the rebuilding in its aftermath in those six counties. Smart growth in the wake of Hurricane Katrina is critical, especially in rural areas where unprecedented growth is taking place. The loss of most trees in rural areas since Katrina is not being caused by wind or water but by growth and development.
For the full article, visit The Picayune Item.
Land Trust for the Mississippi Coastal Plain
Mississippi Urban Forest Council