A Call to Action

J. Sterling Morton said, "Each generation takes the earth as trustees. We ought to bequeath to posterity as many forests and orchards as we have exhausted and consumed."

Now is the time to reverse the decline of our community forests. We must restore our community forests to retain the many important benefits trees provide and enable Nebraskans to continue living "The Good Life" in the Arbor Day state. ReTree Nebraska's ambitious goal of planting 1 million trees in Nebraska's towns and cities by 2017 will engage communities, businesses, organizations, clubs and individuals across the state to restore their communities' forest resources.

ReTree Nebraska is a cooperative effort currently led by the Nebraska Forest Service, Nebraska Statewide Arboretum, Inc., University of Nebraska–Lincoln Department of Agronomy & Horticulture and the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources. ReTree Nebraska is particially funded by the Nebraska Environmental Trust, a beneficiary of the Nebraska Lottery and the USFS Redesign Grant - Community Marketing of Trees.


The primary goal of ReTree Nebraska is energy efforts to properly plant 1 million high quality trees in Nebraska communities by 2017. But because ReTree Nebraska is about restoring and revitalizing Nebraska's community forests, ReTree Nebraska goes beyond planting trees to:

• significantly increase the planting of high-quality, large-growing, long-lived trees in communities across the state with the goal of planting more trees each year than are removed;
• significantly increase the diversity, quality and average canopy cover of most Nebraska community forests;
• strengthen the capacity of most Nebraska communities to develop and implement sustainable community tree management programs;
• work with the nursery industry to secure higher-quality trees and a wider variety of trees for local tree planting efforts;
• engage professional arborists and other green industry professionals to help improve and expand high-quality tree care;
• increase Nebraskans' knowledge and understanding of the value of trees and the importance of properly planting and caring for them;
• significantly increase Nebraskans' awareness of the threats of pine wilt, emerald ash borer, drought, weather and other events which could collectively kill millions of trees across the state in the coming years;
• correct poor planting and maintenance practices that have significantly reduced the health of many community trees planted in the last 30 years; and
• assist communities in the development of "Community Tree Recovery Action Plans" that will evaluate and quantify the local community tree resources, identify community goals for enhancing those resources and develop action plans for achieving those goals.

What Will ReTree Nebraska Accomplish?

• Encourage Nebraskans to properly plant and maintain at least 1 million new community trees by 2017.
• Increase by at least 25 percent the average tree canopy cover in at least 200 communities by the year 2020.
• Provide direct assistance to at least 50 communities each year.
• Increase species diversity by at least 25 percent in at least 100 communities by 2017.
• Develop at least 100 "Community Tree Recovery Action Plans" by 2017.
• Increase the number of certified arborists (International Society of Arboriculture or Nebraska Arborists Association) by 2017.
• Increase the number of nurseries selling produced by root production methods trees by 25 percent by 2017.