How Trees Make a Difference

At one time Indiana was almost completely covered by forest land: In fact, prior to European settlement, an estimated 85% of the state was covered by forests. But over time, forests were cleared and the land was used for agriculture. Today only 19% of the state is forested. Planting new hardwoods helps Indiana grow our forests and protect important tree species from being lost. How else do trees make a difference?

How trees improve air quality

Trees naturally remove CO2 from the atmosphere and return oxygen as a byproduct. Trees also remove other pollutants by absorbing them along with normal air components.

New hardwoods planted by The Indiana Tree project will help improve air quality in Indiana.

How trees protect our water

Trees planted along streams and rivers help reduce the flow of pollutants into water. Agricultural production sometimes results in pesticide and fertilizer runoff near streams and rivers. It can also threaten drinking water supplies. Tree roots help extract the nutrients applied to crops and prevent them from leaching into our groundwater supplies.

The hardwood trees planted by The Indiana Tree Project can play an important role in protecting Indiana’s watershed.

How trees reduce soil erosion

Tree roots help hold soil in place and prevent excessive erosion. Roots also absorb water transforming trees into natural reservoirs and slowing the loss of rainwater from the ecosystem through runoff. Some of the water absorbed by the trees is released into the air through the leaves as water vapor and this helps restore moisture to the atmosphere.

Hardwood trees planted by The Indiana Tree Project will serve to help reduce soil erosion in areas throughout the state.

How trees contribute to the economy

The forest products manufacturing business is an $8.1 billion a year industry in Indiana that employs more than 35,000 people. In fact, forestry's economic impact in Indiana is $17 billion annually. Any hardwoods planted today could be harvested in 80 years – at which time new trees are replanted to enhance the sustainability of Indiana's forests.

The Indiana Department of Natural Resources, Division of Forestry is certified by both the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and Sustainable Forestry Initiative, certifications even more desirable to builders who seek the latest requirements in a green construction industry. Trees harvested from these forests also meet the LEED standard designated by the U.S. Green Building Council.

Hardwood trees planted by The Indiana Tree Project will become a treasured and sustainable resource for future generations.

How trees protect wildlife

Hardwood forests provide habitat for Indiana wildlife. Trees like hickory, oak, and walnut produce large nuts important for deer, squirrels, and turkey. They also support wildlife like bobcats, river otters, bald eagles, ruffed grouse and warblers. Other hardwood trees, such as cherry, produce fruit that is eaten by birds and other wildlife. They also provide important protective cover for the foraging and nesting activities of many creatures.

The trees planted by The Indiana Tree Project will help conserve and protect Indiana wildlife.