Stories in Louisiana


Restoring South Louisiana’s Community Forests

A blue sky is visible through leafy tree branches.
Tree Canopy A blue sky is visible through a canopy of leafy tree branches. © Tracie Joyner

Thanks to a three-year grant from the USDA Forest Service and support from the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry, The Nature Conservancy is launching Treesilience in Louisiana. An offshoot of a national initiative, the Louisiana Treesilience Program (LTP) represents a collaborative initiative designed to address the barriers to resilient canopy in frontline communities located in Louisiana’s southeastern and southwestern parishes hit hardest by the 2020 and 2021 storm seasons.

Hurricanes taking place in 2020 and 2021, especially Hurricane Laura and Hurricane Ida (both Category 4 storms and some of the strongest to make landfall in Louisiana) caused billions of dollars in damage in a 22-parish region that includes New Orleans, Lake Charles, Houma, Thibodaux and other smaller communities. Some of that damage included a massive loss of forest canopy, a key front-line defense for urban areas in the face of severe weather. 

  • A person wearing a hat and jacket holds a ball of tree roots above a hole in the ground.

    Locally Focused

    Focusing on tree canopies located on public property, especially in underserved areas and areas with sparse or heavily impacted canopy, ensures that the LTP engages a community to experience the benefits of a network of healthy and resilient trees.

  • Two men observe a tape measure that wraps around a tree trunk.

    Trees Are The Key

    In addition to beautifying the landscape, a healthy urban tree canopy buffers neighborhoods from severe weather. reduce air temperature, store carbon and support wildlife. They also promote an active lifestyle to benefit physical and mental health.

  • Two people use a large orange bucket to water a tree.

    Amplify Existing Efforts

    In addition to a partnership with Louisiana State Parks, the LTP is building partnerships with municipalities, educational institutions and non-profits to utilize local expertise and knowledge of the most urgent needs and threats to urban canopies.

Treesilience Initiatives

The current three-year grant provides the LTP with an opportunity to work with cities, parishes, non-profits, local communities and other partners on rebuilding tree canopy on public property in affected areas. Types of projects might include:

  • Pruning public trees for storm readiness.
  • Removing potentially hazardous and/or dead/dying trees deemed unlikely to survive or provide community benefit.
  • Reforesting urban canopy with native, climate change resilient species.
  • Inventorying public trees, community canopies through imagery.
  • Establishing management plans aimed at expanding resilient urban forests.

The LTP is based on understanding the needs of frontline community members throughout impacted areas in Louisiana, particularly those that are disadvantaged and have been historically underserved. Through Cooperative Agreements for Assistance, the LTP will partner with a variety of public entities to ensure that proposed projects fulfill the needs of the community and funds are equitably distributed around the service region.

A map features blue water, green land and yellow communities.
Hurricane Impact A map features the impact of recent hurricanes on Louisiana communities. © The Nature Conservancy

Bring Treesilience To Your Community

Later in 2024, the LTP will announce its first open application period for projects that municipalities, non-profits and other public entities anticipate completing by the end of 2026. The LTP will review applications on a rolling basis and evaluate each one based on set parameters to ensure projects align with program initiatives. TNC will coordinate the necessary contracts to complete the chosen projects. 

Participate in Louisiana Treesilience

For more information about the Louisiana Treesilience Program, contact Amanda Takacs, The Nature Conservancy's Community Forest Conservation Coordinator for Louisiana Treesilience, at or 330-421-0013. 

A tree trunk reveals bark of different shades.
Tree Bark A tree at The Nature Conservancy's Abita Creek Flatwoods Preserve features bark of different colors and textures. © The Nature Conservancy/Chris Helzer