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Happy National Forest Week!

If you are like many, forests are one of your favorite places on the planet. From the emerald green moss-filled forests of the Pacific Northwest to the humid and lush wildlife-filled rainforests of South America, some of our most precious places are forests.

Even in Houston, we are fortunate to have forest within an easy drive. Just an hour north on I-45, you can hit the Lone Star Hiking Trail and savor the wonderful woodlands of the Sam Houston National Forest. Head eastbound and you’ll be able to travel deep into the piney woods – a scene that many would have a hard time believe is part of Texas.

Yet, despite how tranquil and special these habitats are, they, like so many life-giving ecosystems are under threat. Deforestation in some of the most pristine locations around the globe continues at an alarming rate. Illegal logging jeopardizes many protected and exotic species. Even here in the U.S., there is ongoing controversy regarding commercial efforts seeking to expand logging access into some of the young and old growth forests, such as the Tongass National Forest.

But there is reason for hope! Recent news headlines proclaimed a 34% reduction in deforestation in the Amazon during newly-elected President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva’s first six months. And in Sumatra, the World Wildlife Fund reports that a unique three-way partnership aimed at protecting forest habitat while providing sustainable livelihoods for local inhabitants has been successful at reversing deforestation within the biodiversity rich area known as Bukit Tigapuluh (or Thirty Hills).

With that in mind, we hope you’ll take a moment to appreciate our forests near and far, and to support the many organizations that work to protect them. Below are a few organizations within the CEC community that work to help protect our state’s forests: