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Trees Destroyed by Wildfire Will Be Replaced Thanks to East Texas

David McNew, Getty Images

It was a little more than a year ago that the most destructive wildfire in Texas history destroyed much of the vegetation in Bastrop County near Austin. It was a major setback for the renowned Lost Pines ecosystem. The fire covered 32,400-acres, destroyed 1,660 homes and killed 1.5 million trees.

Now, one East Texas town is coming to the rescue. Eleven-hundred pounds of tree seeds that were almost thrown into the land fill at one point, will help rebuild the Bastrop ecosystem.

The Texas Forest Service says, for five years those seeds sat on the top shelf in the very back of a refrigerated Brookshire Bros. warehouse in Lufkin. Demand for the seeds declined and they just sat there. In August 2011 geneticists started making plans to toss them into the landfill, but for some reason things didn’t get to that point. Then the fires happened in September and October of 2011, and plans for the seeds began to change.

Tree experts in Texas, Louisiana and Oklahoma spent the past year nurturing the seeds, growing them into seedlings that could be used to reforest Bastrop State Park and surrounding areas. Yesterday, the first shipment — 200,000 loblolly pine seedlings grown by ArborGen, a commercial nursery based in East Texas — arrived at Bastrop State Park. Another 200,000 seedlings grown by the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry will be in Bastrop on Friday. Volunteers will start planting the seeds at Bastrop State Park on Saturday, December 1. The Texas Forest Service says the Arbor Day Foundation is covering the costs.

Anyone else have a very strong urge to see The Lorax right now? Those Bastrop trees must have had someone to speak for them – a real live Lorax of their own.

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