LANSING – The Michigan Department of Natural Resources has launched a new statewide multimedia campaign to promote awareness about the environmental, socio-economic and public health benefits of Michigan’s trees.
The “A tree for life. Forests for a lifetime.” campaign introduces the importance of sustainable forestry and responsible forest management in a series of four 30-second ads that use real paper cutouts blended with an animation style that brings the paper to life.
“The goal of the campaign is to improve recognition among Michigan residents that our forests need care and management to provide clean water, grow our economy, improve quality of life and preserve our precious natural resources for future generations,” said Debbie Begalle, the DNR’s chief of forest resources. “Forests are much healthier when they are actively taken care of, which includes planting trees, fighting disease and ensuring the right amount of trees are cut down in Michigan to balance the needs of people and animals.”
With nearly 4 million acres of state forest land, Michigan has one of the nation’s largest state forest systems. The state’s forest products industry generates $20 billion annually and employs more than 96,000 people statewide.
The campaign is inspired by results from a 2017 DNR-commissioned survey that uncovered knowledge and perceptions of Michigan residents, including:
- Nearly 90 percent of respondents agreed that public lands and forests are valuable and important – even if they don’t go there themselves.
- Nearly 90 percent said it’s important that people manage forests in order to keep them healthy.
An overwhelming majority felt the role of forests was beneficial in providing clean air and water to the state.
The survey also uncovered common misconceptions about sustainable forestry that will be addressed by the new campaign. Many Michigan residents were not aware of key topics central to forest management, including:
- Active management is essential to responsible environmental stewardship. Forests are much healthier when dedicated people following sound science-based management plans actively manage them. The DNR follows the rules to make sure the right amount of trees are cut to balance the needs of people and wildlife.
- Michigan will not run out of forests. Trees are a renewable resource. In fact, Michigan’s forests are growing considerably faster than they are being cut – each year 2.7 times more wood is grown than harvested.
- Michigan has strong rules in place protecting our forests. Since 2005, the Michigan DNR has been certified by independent, third-party review of on-the-ground forest practices that ensure our forests are well-managed. This rigorous certification system means you can trust that the products you purchase have been manufactured responsibly.
The long-term health of forests sometimes requires cutting. The notion that “cutting down trees is bad” is not accurate. Cutting trees prevents the spread of disease and insects, allows new trees and plants to grow, creates better and diverse habitat and forage for wildlife, maintains safe recreation areas and provides wood for many of the products we use every day.
The video series – which uses a blend of traditional stop-motion and digital filmmaking – was created using paper made from Michigan trees. The paper was produced by French Paper Co. – a sixth-generation, family-owned paper mill located in Niles, Michigan.
The spots will air on social media platforms and traditional public and commercial broadcasting outlets in metro Detroit. Or watch them at www.michigan.gov/ForestsForALifetime, where you can also learn more about sustainable forestry management in Michigan.
“Careful management is critical to ensuring sustainable forests, whether they’re in the heart of Detroit or in the heart of the Upper Peninsula,” Begalle said. “That’s why we work so hard to keep our forests strong and abundant.”
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