The community forest is a valuable and cherished part of any community, providing many significant benefits, both tangible and intangible. Beyond the obvious shade and beauty, trees quietly help us control pollution (both air and water), manage stormwater, create wildlife habitat, and provide a range of economic, health and psychological benefits.
Unfortunately, due to their long lifespan, trees in community forests are often taken for granted and their loss goes unnoticed. Many of Nebraska's community forests are in severe decline as an alarming number of trees are lost every year due to weather extremes, insects, disease and human neglect.
The challenges to trees continue to increase, with more extreme and changeable weather, disease and insect threats (including thousand cankers disease of walnuts, mountain pine beetle, pine wilt disease and emerald ash borer). These problems are amplified by the lack of diversity in tree species and age throughout our communities.
To continue reaping the benefits of our community forests, it is critical that we strategically replant and maintain our community forests. By increasing the quantity, quality and diversity of trees in our communities we also increase their resiliency to these challenges. Trees for Nebraska Towns takes part in that effort by providing funding and technical assistance to public oriented projects that emphasize the planting of large maturing shade trees, and companion plants, in Nebraska communities. We encourage you to pursue a project for your community by completing and submitting an application for funding through the Trees for Nebraska Towns program.
Trees for Nebraska Towns Program Goals
- Significantly increase the number of large-maturing trees in Nebraska communities.
- Increase the diversity, health, resiliency and sustainability of Nebraska community forests.
- Increase awareness of proper tree selection, placement, planting and care of trees.
- Increase awareness and appreciation for the benefits of the community forest.