“Forests are the lungs of our land, purifying the air and giving fresh strength to our people.”
- U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt
Forests as Filters
We all want to live in a world where the air is safe to breathe and the water is clean and healthy, not only for ourselves, but for the next generation. Keeping forests healthy is one of the best ways to ensure our air and water are clean.Trees are just the opposite. They absorb CO2, water and sunlight to make food and, through the process of photosynthesis, release clean, healthy oxygen that humans can breathe.
Forestland also helps keep our water safe to drink. It absorbs rain, refills underground aquifers, cools and cleanses water, slows storm runoff, and sustains watershed stability and resilience. Investing in forests to protect watersheds also makes good business sense. In fact, every dollar invested in water conservation in the Catskill Mountains - including protecting private forests - avoided $6 of water treatment infrastructure spending for water that flows to the faucets of New York City.
Most American Forests are Privately Owned
More than half (56%) of America’s forests are privately owned and managed. Families own 251 million acres. Here are some other facts about private forests in the United States:
Making Forests More Effective
Trees reduce the amount of CO2 in our atmosphere. In the United States, forests capture about 12% of the total carbon emissions. That number could grow much higher — an estimated 20% — when forest owners use bettermanagement practices such as:
- Planting trees
- Replanting cut trees or trees damaged by disasters
- Lengthening cut rotations
- Thinning, weeding, and prescribed fire
- Avoiding deforestation
AFF is committed to giving family landowners the information and resources they need to help improve their forest stewardship, so that private forests can continue to provide a multitude of public benefits. Please join us in our work to ensure national policy supports family forest owners.