Trees, Water & People's reforestation project will help mitigate and address climate change effects by planting native trees in areas burned by forest fires on the Pine Ridge reservation in South Dakota, and the Pueblo of Santo Domingo in New Mexico. Reforestation will: sequester carbon and reduce greenhouse gases; improve air and water quality; reduce soil erosion; reestablish wildlife habitat; and enhance ecosystem resiliency, while engaging Native Americans in the protection of their lands.
Over the 125 years that the Bureau of Indian Affairs has managed the Pine Ridge Reservation, it has provided almost zero management of the Tribe's precious forest resources. As a result, the pine forest has shrunk considerably, and in many places there are no longer enough trees to guarantee sustainability. Recent fires have further degraded forest quantity and quality. No known reforestation efforts, besides that initiated by Trees, Water & People, have taken place.
Due to Trees, Water & People's long history and success growing and planting millions of trees around the world, we have been asked to develop a tree planting project on the Pine Ridge Reservation. Our goal is to address the critical need for forest cover and associated carbon sequestration by replanting the legendary pine ridges, while also engaging Native Americans in the reforestation efforts.
Through the simple act of planting trees, the tribe will improve the quality of their local air and water, prevent soil erosion, and combat climate change by reducing hazardous greenhouse gases. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, carbon sequestration through reforestation is a local solution with global implications. Reforestation increases the planet's net carbon storage, which helps moderate climate change by slowing the growth of carbon emissions in the atmosphere.