So Long Tundra, Hello Trees

US Forest Service Plants Massive Carbon Sink in Arctic

Posted: 4/1/2014

Planting trees moving forward in the Alaska arctic.
Tree planting moving forward in the Alaskan arctic.

The US Forest Service today launched a large scale forestation project in the arctic. Today marks the first day of project Trees For Carbon based out of Kotzebue, Alaska, where Forest Service officials cut the ribbon on a new effort to create a huge carbon sink above the arctic circle. Tens of millions of Douglas-firs and coast redwoods are now being planted across areas of tundra formerly too inhospitable for trees, but are now, due to global warming, suitable for arborescent vegetation. “Global climate change has created a situation with potentially dire consequences for the human race,” said federal spokesperson Helen A. Baskett. “Without immediate withdrawal of carbon from the atmosphere, the climate is projected to warm at alarming rates, so we’re taking action.” According to some estimates, planting these new forests will pull sufficient carbon from the atmosphere to stabilize global temperatures within 10 years. “Many ecologists have pointed out the need to consider ‘novel ecosystems’ as a necessary restoration outcome during this period of unprecedented global change, and in the United States we’re thinking very novel, and very big,” said Baskett. Losses of tundra biomes were described in today’s press release as “unfortunate” and “maybe not such a good idea, but the need to make it look like we’re doing something outweighs the risks.”

The project will eventually convert over 100 million square miles of tundra to forests with large trees, which are expected to reach record sizes because of exceptional growth rates in the arctic’s long summer days. “You’ve seen pictures of the cabbages we grow up here, haven’t you? Well just think what the trees will do. I bet you’ll be able to see them from Russia,” said long-time homesteader S. Louise Palin.

The Forest Service was able to expedite this project through the environmental review process due to Congress’s recent passage of a modification to the National Environmental Policy Act called NEPA-Lite, under which federal actions designed to protect homeland security no longer need any review at all.

Some environmental groups cried foul at the news of the project, expressing concern over the demise of sensitive arctic habitats and the species that depend on them. Said one anonymous source from a prominent environmental organization, “We’re going to raise such a ruckus that come April 2nd, this whole project will be over like a bad joke.”

We hope you enjoyed this April Fools Day hoax… with no offense meant to our able and good friends with the US Forest Service.