Press Release: Gov. Evers Celebrates Earth Day, Signs Executive Order Pledging to Conserve and Restore Forestland

Office of Governor Tony Evers
Gov. Evers Celebrates Earth Day, Signs Executive Order Pledging to Conserve and Restore Forestland
Executive order pledges state to plant 75 million trees by 2030

MADISON — Gov. Tony Evers proclaimed today, April 22, 2021, as Earth Day in the state of Wisconsin. The governor also celebrated the day by signing Executive Order #112. In an Earth Day pledge, Gov. Evers committed to working with public, private, and non-governmental partners to conserve 125,000 acres of forest land and plant 75 million trees by the end of 2030, while continuing to support the responsible management of public and private forestland across Wisconsin.

When fully realized, the state pledge will result in 28.8 million metric tons of carbon dioxide stored over the next 50 years. That is equivalent to the amount of carbon dioxide produced by six million passenger vehicles for a year. 

We value our forests for clean water, wildlife habitat, recreational opportunities and wood products. Wisconsin’s 17 million acres of forests are also a crucial tool in our fight to slow climate change if they remain as healthy, working forests,” Gov. Evers said. “Our climate is changing at a pace faster than at any time known in history. Sustainably managing Wisconsin forests will not only generate climate change mitigation benefits, but also contributes $24.4 billion annually to Wisconsin’s economy, supports the health of our citizens and helps maintain the high quality of life that defines our state.”

Wisconsin’s tree pledge focuses on the stewardship of forests and trees in both rural and urban areas. Because urban forests are vital for the health of residents as well as the ecological and economic well-being of our communities, the pledge includes planting a million trees in Wisconsin towns, cities and suburbs by 2030. Associated benefits of urban tree planting include improved public health, reduced city temperatures (heat islands), stormwater reduction, reduced heating and cooling costs, improved air quality, increased property values and other social, community, wildlife and economic co-benefits.

With this pledge, the state of Wisconsin recognizes that healthy forests are one of the best nature-based solutions to climate change and joins a wide variety of corporations, governments and non-profit organizations in the U.S. Chapter of the Global Trillion Trees Initiative, led by the World Economic Forum and American Forests. Gov. Evers is a member of the U.S. Stakeholder Council, comprised of senior-level representatives from US based governments, corporations and non-profit organizations.

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) will be coordinating the implementation of this pledge on behalf of the state of Wisconsin. The DNR’s forestry program began in 1904 with the hiring of Wisconsin’s first chief state forester and is committed to working with partners to manage Wisconsin forests to provide ecological, economic, social and cultural benefits for Wisconsin residents today and in the future.

The U.S. Chapter was created in August 2020, shortly after the Forum launched its initiative to support the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration by conserving, restoring and growing 1 trillion trees globally by 2030. The chapter is championing a new approach in the US to creating healthy and resilient forests. Central to this approach is a diverse community of forest champions from the public and private sectors who help facilitate knowledge exchange, surface new collaboration opportunities and unlock the full potential needed to accelerate and scale up forests-related ambitions and actions. There is no other means in the US for bringing together entities that have made commitments related to forests so they can learn from each other and help each other achieve their goals.

American Forests is the first national non-profit conservation organization created in the U.S. Since its founding in 1875, the organization has been the pathfinders for the forest conservation movement. Its mission is to create healthy and resilient forests, from cities to wilderness, that deliver essential benefits for climate, people, water and wildlife. The organization advances its mission through forestry innovation, place-based partnerships to plant and restore forests, and movement building. 

The World Economic Forum, committed to improving the state of the world, is the International Organization for Public-Private Cooperation. The Forum engages the foremost political, business and other leaders of society to shape global, regional and industry agendas.

Read the complete tree pledge online here: