The half-million tree seedlings will help improve habitat for a variety of wildlife, including the federally endangered Kirtland’s Warbler, a neotropical migrant bird species whose breeding habitat is almost exclusively confined to young, dense jack pine stands located in Michigan’s Lower Peninsula. The Arbor Day Foundation funds were used to plant jack pine seedlings on about 850 acres in need of reforestation in the Damon Kirtland’s Warbler management block. The seedlings were planted at a rate of 1,200 per acre, to produce the thick cover that the warbler needs for critical nesting habitat.
The Arbor Day Foundation is the largest nonprofit tree planting organization in the United States, with more than 1 million members. The Foundation plants and distributes more than 14 million trees each year.
“This partnership with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources allows our members and supporters the chance to make a positive impact on our world by planting trees that will provide needed habitat for the Kirtland’s Warbler,” said Brad Brandt, reforestation manager with the Arbor Day Foundation.
With Arbor Day Foundation’s support, the DNR was able to complete the planting of 2 million jack pine seedlings this year for Kirtland’s Warbler habitat.
“Funding a wildlife habitat project is always a challenge, and with this partnership with the Arbor Day Foundation we are able to again effectively build critical habitat at the ground level for a variety of wildlife species, including the Kirtland’s Warbler, a federally endangered species,” said Keith Fisher, acting wildlife biologist with DNR’s Kirtland’s Warbler Habitat Program. “We are very thankful for their support, and hope we can continue to work with the Arbor Day Foundation in future years to promote and grow additional wildlife habitat.”
Another 4.2 million seedlings were planted on other state forest lands. In all, the DNR reforested about 8,000 acres this spring.