GreenTrees — self-described as “a privately managed forest restoration and carbon sequestration program created for landowners within the seven states of the Lower Mississippi Alluvial Valley” — aims to eventually have 1 million acres in the program. Recent changes in the program’s lease requirements will help achieve that goal.

“We’re completing a few planting projects as we speak,” says Page Gravely, GreenTrees senior director for landowner enrollment and program marketing, in mid-November. “At the end of this year, we’ll have about 5,000 acres total planted. About 3,500 acres of that is in Arkansas at about 25 different locations.”

In Arkansas, the largest contiguous tract, 635 acres, is going in this winter near Fort Smith.

“The largest tract we’ve planted so far (about 1,500 acres) is on a single agriculture property just south of Tallulah, La., next to the Tensas River National Wildlife Refuge. That’s on the Petrus property and was planted last winter. It’s really become the flagship for the program.”

The new Petrus forest was in agriculture for 45 years before the farmer retired.

“The Madison Parish NRCS had been talking to the landowner family to put the land in CRP,” says Gravely. “We were introduced to them by a tree planter. The soils are perfect for cottonwood/hardwood and so the family simultaneously enrolled in both CRP and GreenTrees. Around 98 percent of the trees survived and the cottonwoods are already at 20 feet. Some of the hardwoods are already at 6 feet. It’s a beautiful piece of property.”

All told, with 5,000 acres in the program and 604 trees per acre, almost 3 million new hardwoods have been planted since GreenTrees’ launch.