Did you know that wood consumption in the U.S. is approximately 640 pounds per capita? That's like a white pine tree 43 feet tall and one foot in diameter. Global forest loss is approximately 11.6 million acres each year. Severe drought and insect outbreaks related to climate changes have killed hundreds of millions of trees across the U.S. over the past 20 years and wildfires have burned over 3.7 million acres annually. An additional 175,000 acres per year are removed in community areas of the U.S. due to development and other human pressures.
During our Oregon Eco-excursion, we will learn about deforestation, the second largest factor in climate change (second only to emissions from burning of fossil fuels). And we will do something about it. We will help with a Mennonite Men project to plant 3,000 trees to convert farm pasture to original forestland. Now that these seedlings have been planted, we will help with vegetation management around the trees so that they can get off to a good start. This will be one activity among other experiences in wild spaces in Oregon.
This photo shows Oregon white oak (a declining species) and other seedlings being planted in a pasture previously used for grazing cattle. It's being turned back to forestland and added to the Zena Forest managed by a Mennonite family. In an area dominated by industrial clear cutting, this family practices sustainable forestry to protect forest ecosystems while performing selective harvesting for essential wood products.
Eventually as these trees mature, this degraded land will once again become a more productive oak forest like this in the Zena Forest with lust understory and rich biodiversity. Once regenerated into a healthy forest ecosystem, it will sequester carbon dioxide responsible for global warming, improve water and soil quality, create wildlife habitat, and provide other critical ecosystem services while providing a source of wood products from sustainable management.
This project integrates our JoinTrees campaign to plant one million trees to restore God's Earth and our JoinMen program to provide meaningful experiences for men learning, growing and serving together. In this eco-excursion we will also enjoy wonderful wild spaces in God's creation and learn from what trees and forests teach us about life. To learn more and participate, register here mennomen.live/oregon. Registration is due by April 11.