Entergy Corp. has restored 2,942 acres of bottomland hardwood forests in Louisiana and Arkansas, a project the utility said will remove an estimated 460,000 tons of carbon dioxide over the next 40 years.
Entergy has registered the project with the American Carbon Registry. The project is one of only a few U.S.-based reforestation projects registered anywhere.
Entergy partnered with The Conservation Fund and Trust for Public Land, which helped acquire the lands; Environmental Synergy, which planted the trees; and TerraCarbon, which provided technical assistance and project documentation.
“The reforestation project partnership we’ve used here represents an innovative market-based approach to help slow and reduce the buildup of greenhouse gases,” Steve Tullos, Entergy’s manager, corporate environmental initiatives, said in a news release. “By taking the lead with this project, we hope to encourage companies in our industry and others to use this model to take a more proactive position toward the environment.”
Bottomland hardwood forests are wetlands that originally covered more than 30 million acres in the Lower Mississippi Valley. The acreage was replanted with native species, primarily bald cypress and bottomland oaks in the Tensas, Red River, Overflow, and Pond Creek National Wildlife Refuges, all managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Most of these forests were destroyed by logging in the early 1900s and the land converted to farming in the 1960s and 1970s.
Replanting the native trees soaks up greenhouse gases from the atmosphere, improves local water quality and increases the land’s ability to store floodwater, Tullos said. The project is also providing more habitat for waterfowl, migrant songbirds and other wildlife, including the Louisiana Black Bear, which is on the federal government’s threatened species list.