Austin, Texas, November 28, 2018 – There’s nothing as lovely as a tree — or as promising a tool for alleviating climate change. By planting native trees along the edges of creeks in East Travis County, TreeFolks, an urban forestry nonprofit, hopes to offset carbon pollution while restoring critical floodplains, courtesy of a $225,000 pilot grant from The Nature Conservancy’s First U.S. Natural Climate Solutions Accelerator Competition.
“Trees improve the soil, support wildlife, buffer flood zones, and provides welcomed shade from the hot Texas sun,” said Thaïs Perkins, TreeFolks’ Executive Director. “They also absorb carbon. Trees are a simple, low-tech and natural climate solution hiding in plain sight.”
The new Travis County Floodplain Reforestation Program is a collaboration between TreeFolks, the City of Austin, Travis County, the Nature Conservancy, and City Forest Credits (CFC), a nonprofit organization in Seattle, WA. Eligible landowners will receive free trees, free planting services and consultations as part of the program, and will be offered the opportunity to participate in carbon credit generation should they choose to do so. Applications are currently available at https://treefolkstest.wpengine.com/travis-county-floodplain.
Creating Local Carbon Credits
The vast majority of forest-generated carbon credits have been issued for tropical rainforests far from urban areas. This project offers locally sourced offset credits to meet sustainability targets, such as the City of Austin’s goal of carbon neutrality by 2020.
Working with volunteers, youth service organizations and some contracted labor, TreeFolks densely plants native saplings in targeted public and privately-owned land parcels. The newly planted trees are not irrigated or fenced. Some fail, but the survivors acclimate and restore the canopy as they mature.
“I think the work is innovative and potentially game-changing,” said Zach Baumer, climate program manager for the City of Austin and protocol board for CFC. “To harness the market to create environmental benefits in cities is a great thing.”
Research by The Nature Conservancy and 15 other institutions, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, demonstrates that conservation, restoration and better land management can yield more than one-third of the climate mitigation needed by 2030 to keep the global temperature rise below two degrees Celsius.
The Travis County Floodplain Reforestation Program is one of five winners of the Nature Conservancy’s Natural Climate Solutions Accelerator Competition. In this pilot round of the program, a combined $850,000 will be awarded to the five winners.
The Accelerator is a joint program with support from partner organizations American Forest Foundation (AFF), and American Forests (AF) as well as representatives from the United States Forest Service (USFS) and Duke University.
TreeFolks has engaged thousands of volunteers to plant more than 2.8 million trees in Central Texas since 1989.
For media inquiries, please contact Jessica T. Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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OUR MISSION: TreeFolks empowers Central Texans to build stronger communities through planting and caring for trees.