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ACT: Ash Crisis Team

Over one million trees in our beautiful Sourland forest will die within the next few years. That’s twenty percent of all trees – in our gorgeous public parks and preserves, in our yard and probably in yours.

The emerald ash borer is on track to kill every last ash tree. The state has released parasitic wasps to target these pests and allow the next generation of ash to survive, but they will not be able to save this generation.

We know that the Sourland forest’s understory is degraded. Tree saplings are not in place to fill in the gaps, mainly due to the excess population of deer that has decimated sapling trees. When the canopy opens and sunlight reaches the forest floor, invasive species like autumn olive, barberry and multiflora rose thrive. Native plants and animals, whose numbers are already in decline, are struggling to survive. Development, deer browse, disease, and invasive species are all to blame.

If you’re not already treating every ash tree – and continuing to do so – it will almost certainly perish. In some areas (including Baldpate Mountain), the total tree loss will be much higher. This will be devastating – to all of the humans and animals who depend on the forest to provide clean water, food, and shelter.

Forest Restoration Project

Together, we’ve planted 45,000 trees in 4 years! Thanks to every member, volunteer, partner, and grantor! With your help, we will expand our efforts to restore the forest, sequester carbon, and reduce flooding! 45,000 is a lot of trees, but it’s just a start. We really need to ramp up our efforts to restore the forest to offset the devastating loss of over one million trees in the last few years.

Private Land
Thanks to a generous US Forest Service (USFS) grant in partnership with FoHVOS Invasive Species Strike Team, we’ve begun planting on private land within the USFS priority area. This work will help provide critical habitat and strengthen connectivity to help keep wildlife populations healthy.

Public Parks and Preserves
The Sourland Conservancy has partnered with Somerset County Park Commission, Mercer County Park Commission, Montgomery Township, Hillsborough Township, the Watershed Institute, New Jersey Conservation Foundation, D&R Greenway Land Trust, and Friends of Hopewell Valley Open Space to plant trees and shrubs on their property and maintain those planting sites.

How you can help

  • Plant native trees, shrubs, and flowers in your own yard.
  • Reduce your lawn size, protect “volunteer” seedlings from deer browse, and plant more!
  • Planting is fun! If you don’t have room to plant at home, come plant with us!

Related content

How to plant a tree sapling

Taking care of your tree sapling

Planting tree saplings with tree tubes

Hunterdon Land Trust Ash Restoration