More than 126,000 native hardwood-tree seedlings have been planted in 185 acres in the state’s largest privately funded reforestation project at Hellbender Bluff Park located in rural Columbiana County.
The project is a joint effort among American Municipal Power Inc., Columbiana County Park District and Appalachian Regional Reforestation Initiative/Green Forest Works.
A small planting took place Tuesday in conjunction with the American Chestnut Foundation.
The project was initiated in 2010 when AMP toured the previously strip mined site to assess its potential to provide “carbon offsets” through reforestation. AMP, an electricity provider that owns and operates renewable and fossil-fuel generation resources, has voluntarily committed to offset a portion of the carbon emissions from those facilities. Trees absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and convert it to energy for the trees’ growth though photosynthesis, releasing oxygen into the atmosphere.
In exchange for future carbon offsets expected to be generated by the tree seedlings at Hellbender Bluff Park, AMP provided site preparation services, professional planting services and 15 different species of native hardwood seedlings.
CCPD retains ownership of the land and will be responsible for the sustainable management of the new forest in consultation with AMP. Site prep work and species selection was coordinated with ARRI/GFW.