The ACE Group today announced the selection of seven national and two international forest restoration projects as part of its sponsorship of American Forests’ Global ReLeaf program, marking the sixth year it has supported this effort, and the second time the company has supported projects outside the United States under the program. In March, ACE renewed its sponsorship of the Global ReLeaf program, pledging to plant more than 13,500 trees – one for each environmental insurance policy written by ACE globally in 2012. Since it began its relationship with American Forests in 2007, ACE has sponsored nearly 50,000 tree plantings through the program.
“Last year was an extraordinary year for wildfires in the United States, the third worst fire season since 1960. It’s even more important for ACE to reaffirm its commitment and support to the American Forests Global ReLeaf program,” said Craig Richardson, Senior Vice President, ACE Environmental Risk. “We’re proud of our sustainability efforts through participation in this program and pleased that, with the continued support of our clients, we can take part in helping to drive the protection and expansion of the forest restoration program. We look forward to continuing to work together with American Forests to create a healthier planet.”
The ACE Group contributions supported 1,500 tree plantings in each of the following programs affiliated with American Forests Global ReLeaf program in 2012:
- California (Airport Fire) – An illegal campfire in July, 2011, destroyed 81 acres of forest in Alpine Country, Ca. Adjacent to the project is the Alpine County Airport, and an 18,000 acre burn scar from a previous 1983 wildfire. This project will plant 20,000 fire resistant Jeffrey Pines to help restore the popular Indian Creek Reservoir and Campground.
- Indonesia (Orangutan Habitat Restoration and Protection in the Dolok Sibual Buali Nature Reserve) - This project will reforest 140 acres of degraded Sumatran orangutan habitat in the Batang Toru forest. The Sumatran orangutan is a critically endangered species, struggling to survive in the island’s shrinking forests. Suitable habitats for this species have been lost due to illegal logging, and poaching also poses a serious threat to these primates’ survival. Reforesting in the Dolok Sibual Buali Nature Reserve is helping to secure land where these animals can thrive.
- Mexico (Restoration and Enrichment of Migratory Bird Habitat) – This project will work toward the restoration of the cloud forest (the most vulnerable and bio diverse ecosystem in Mexico) and shade-grown coffee plantations with 20,000 multipurpose native trees of ecological importance. Additionally, the project will improve people’s awareness and increase tree maintenance by local communities through the production and distribution of trees for economic stability.
- Minnesota (Blowdown Reforestation) – On July 2, 2012, a storm with 80-85 mph straight line winds caused massive blow down in the Chippewa National Forest. An estimated 95,000 acres were affected in what is considered the heart of “pine country.” Restoration of these pine stands is critical to both the wildlife that depends on them for habitat and food sources and recreationists that enjoy their outdoor splendor. The Ojibwa community living on the Leech Lake Reservation also has a special bond with the forest.
- Montana (Whitebark Planting) – The Mussigbrod Fire of 2000 burnt 33,000 acres on the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest. Whitebark pine has been negatively affected in the forest both from high elevation wildfire and from the current mountain pine beetle epidemic. The planting will help start a process of putting back a keystone species that has been affected greatly in the Mussigbrod area and enhance the ecological diversity and wildfire habitat.
- North Carolina (North Mills River Riparian Restoration) – The North Fork Mills River is an eligible Wild and Science River and essential to the maintenance of trout, drinking, and high quality waters. Streamside vegetation is required in order to mitigate erosion and subsequent damage to aquatic habitat. The area has experienced significant tree mortality resulting in a drastically degraded riparian habitat. This project seeks to improve the health of the natural watershed; assisting in the maintenance of hydrologic function and enhancing stream stability and water quality.
- Vermont (Riparian Tree Planting) – This project will re-plant and inter-plant previously planted riparian areas either destroyed or disturbed by the historic flooding of the White River caused by Tropical Storm Irene in August 2011. Streamside vegetation was removed by the flood waters in the matter of just a few hours, resulting in the loss of valuable planted shade-producing trees and shrubs, and the highly productive food source the vegetation provided to stream-dwelling organisms. The upper White River has been the focus of Atlantic salmon re-introduction, eastern brook trout enhancement, and other fisheries habitat improvements. Plantings will help restore a healthy splendor.
- Virginia (North River Oak Restoration) – In the Appalachian Mountains, the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests contain nearly 1.8 million acres of forest land and provide habitat for turkey, squirrel, and bear. Gypsy moth damage and subsequent mortality in a portion of the forest, close to the Shenandoah Mountains, have reduced the stump sprouting potential of damaged oak providing hard mast. This project will restore several species of tree to the area, aiding in the forest’s natural regeneration, and helping combat the spread of invasive, nonnative species.
- Wyoming (Grouse Mountain Whitebark Pine Restoration) – This project will test and demonstrate various silvicultural methods to restore whitebark pine following severe mountain pine beetle mortality and competition from primarily subalpine fir. Animal species, such as Clark’s nutcracker and grizzly bears, rely on whitebark seeds rich in fat and energy for their survival. The site is also crucial for the provision of water resources and recreational opportunities throughout the year. American Forests, the nation’s oldest nonprofit citizens’ conservation organization, helps people understand the need to restore forest ecosystems in urban and rural areas through community-based initiatives. The organization introduced Global ReLeaf in 1988 to restore damaged forest ecosystems through the planting of trees. The goal of this campaign is to plant 100 million trees by the year 2020.
ACE has been a pioneer in developing advanced environmental risk insurance solutions designed to minimize bottom line impacts and provide hands-on management for environmental liabilities. ACE’s Environmental Risk divisions in the U.S. and abroad offer a full range of specialized environmental and sustainable property and casualty insurance products and services, promoted as “ACE Green,” including coverages for premises-based exposures, contractors’ and project pollution liability, and renewable energy and environmental cleanup projects.
To learn more about the ACE Group’s environmental insurance products and services, please visit www.acegroup.com. For more information about ACE’s overall environmental initiative, please visit www.acegreen.com. For more information on American Forests, please visit www.americanforests.org.
The ACE Group is one of the world’s largest multiline property and casualty insurers. With operations in 53 countries, ACE provides commercial and personal property and casualty insurance, personal accident supplemental health insurance, reinsurance, and life insurance to a diverse group of clients. ACE Limited, the parent company of the ACE Group, is listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: ACE) and is a component of the S&P 500 index. Additional information can be found at: www.acegroup.com.