To date, AIM’s GreenTrees program has planted over 30 million trees on 120,000 acres in partnership with private landowners on marginal farmland in the Mississippi Alluvial Valley (MAV).
Partners W. Carey Crane and Chandler Van Voorhis conceived GreenTrees initially in 2003 as a PPP (public private partnership). They wanted conservation to pay for itself — and knew it could. That was the only way they believed “conservation would stay.”
To put conservation in the lead rather than as an occasional outcome of government programs or foundation grants which end, AIM set about building a sustainable financial investment process. The idea was not just to plant trees, but, more importantly, to grow new forests.
Currently, AIM focuses on seven river states — Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi (or ARKLAMIS) primarily, but also southern Illinois (southern), Kentucky, Missouri and Tennessee — from Cairo to Baton Rouge. The Mississippi Alluvial Valley, or Delta, was chosen because of its environmental sensitivity.
The Delta region is a vital ecosystem for 60% of all migrating birds, and home to multiple endangered species. The Mississippi River drains 41% of North America’s rivers, and the MAV has an annual rainfall of 60-90 inches per year. Rainfall in the Delta allows a white oak grow to the same height in 80 years that a New Jersey white oak reaches in 250 years.
GreenTrees does not own the land. Rather, we commit to improving marginal lands through our inter-planting technique. Those landowners who choose to partner with GreenTrees do so for many reasons, including: seeking a “higher and better use” for the land, helping their tax base, doing family succession planning, eliminating crop uncertainty, and becoming active participants in new energy commodities like carbon, under a restricted land deed covenant.
GreenTrees partners with 500 landowners currently, and produces over one million tons of carbon annually (the majority of voluntary forestry carbon credit market in North America). GreenTrees now has a leadership position among forestry programs in the nation and world.