- Hey it's me, Destin.
Welcome back to Smarter Every Day.
There's a really cool thing happening
on the internet right now and we want you to be a part.
It's called Team Trees and the goal is simple.
20 million trees by 2020
and we actually have a mechanism to do this.
If you go to teamtrees.org
the Arbor Day Foundation has agreed
to plant one tree in the ground
for every dollar that's donated there.
That is a huge opportunity
and internet content creators from all over,
every genre of content, were all working together
to do this but we need you.
We need you to help us do this
by going to teamtrees.org and donating.
Let's say that we're all on board and we're all awesome
and we make this happen.
$20 million go to the Arbor Day Foundation
and they're gonna plant 20 million trees.
How do we do that scientifically?
In order to figure this out,
I wanna go look at this whole concept
through the eyes of my granddaddy
who attempted to plant hundreds of trees
in a field back in the 60s.
My dad was there and he remembers exactly what happened.
- Early 60s, '61, '62, Daddy had a group of students
from Auburn come and plant some longleaf pines.
They planted them in different methods,
some in a hill, some in a furrow, hundreds of them.
And only two of them lived.
- Why did Auburn University come here
to plant trees in this field?
- It's not native to this area and Auburn wanted to see
if a longleaf pine could survive this far north.
- [Destin Voiceover] The fact
that longleaf pines were planted here is super interesting
because Granddaddy's land was just north
of the natural range for that species.
Whenever I travel to different regions of the world,
I love to discover what tree species thrive
in that environment, whether it be a strangler fig in Peru,
a baobab tree in western Africa,
or the famous Recoleta rubber tree
in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Certain species of trees always seem
to thrive in certain areas.
To learn more about why certain thrive
in certain environments,
I went to Auburn University School
of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences
where I met with Dr. Becky Barlow and Dr. John Kush.
Both are experts in sustainable forestry
and both know a ton about the longleaf pine.
- [Destin] How does a person find the right tree
for the right location?
Let's say someone lives in Ohio for example,
or they live in, I don't know, Wyoming
and they need to figure out the exact tree
they need to plant on their property.
- The first thing that they need to do is,
like Dr. Kush was saying,
you need to think about the soils.
You need to think about what soils you have.
You need to think about what you are willing to do
from a management standpoint.
How active are you willing to be
in the management of your property?
Some people are just, wanna plant it and walk away
and not have to do anything to it.
And that's okay too and there are certain things
you can do from that standpoint.
But most of the time, you're gonna have to plant it.
Then you're gonna have to monitor it
and you're gonna have to maybe do some thinnings
in there to make sure
that the trees have enough water, light, nutrients
to grow, because they start to get too crowded
and then they're gonna start to die naturally.
And so you wanna thin it
so you don't have that natural mortality.
You can actually capture that mortality.
- [Destin] So there's science to it.
- Yeah, a lot.
And you also need to know about the trees.
You need to think about the tree that you want to plant
and think about its life history,
its silvics is what it's called.
- [Destin] How do you spell that?
It's kind of its life history.
Where does it normally occur?
Where does it naturally occur?
How does it grow?
How tall does it get?
Does it need a lot of sunlight or can it tolerate shade?
It's those things like that that you need to understand
about the trees that you're wanting to plant
and then making sure you, again,
that's how you match the tree to your site.
- [Destin Voiceover] Dr. Kush pulled up a soil survey
from Granddaddy's land
and explained that the different types of soil affect
how trees grow differently.
He said the main factor, however, was probably
that Granddaddy planted them in a grassy area
where the weeds probably choked out the trees.
- [Destin] So longleaf pine.
- Longleaf pine.
- [Destin] What do I need to know?
- Burn it.
- Burn it.
- [Destin] What do you mean?
- Plant it, burn it.
- [Destin] What do you mean?
- You gotta use prescribed fire,
get your little area cleaned out,
get your trees planted, wait a year, burn it.
- [Destin] So you're talking about the undergrowth.
- The undergrowth.
- [Destin] Okay so you're not saying,
"Cut the tree down and burn it."
- No, don't cut the tree down.
Please don't cut the tree.
We're doing too much of that already.
- [Destin] Okay so fires can be a good thing
if they're done correctly, is what you're saying.
- Fires are a excellent thing if done correctly.
But we have to do it correctly.
- [Destin] What do you mean?
- You have to prescribe, get your conditions right,
prescribe the fire, get a burn permit
from the Forestry Commission and do what's right for nature.
You're just mimicking what nature did.
If we weren't here it would be happening.
If you have nobody here, get away all the people,
all the roads, and you just have wildlife out there,
a lightning strike hits a tree, starts a fire.
It'd go for miles, tens of miles, hundreds of miles.
So the southeast was seeing fire very frequent
and thus you had longleaf pine there.
- [Destin Voiceover] Dr. Kush explained to me
that the longleaf pine is different.
He explained that it has adapted the ability
to actually be burned during its first few years of life.
Dr. Barlow and Dr. Kush took me outside
to see actual longleaf pines and explain how they work.
- We actually have a longleaf pine in the grass stage here.
- [Dr. Kush] I planted this four years ago.
The idea of trying to bring longleaf pine back to this site.
It passed the stage
where it doesn't really put out any woody extension growth
like all trees do.
It waits for its chance to take fires for a couple years
and then that central bud, it will one day decide
that it's time to come out of the grass stage
and off it will go.
- [Destin] Really?
That is not, - What that--
- [Destin] That is not what I think of
when I think of a small tree.
- It is not.
Any longleaf pine this size can take fire.
Any other tree will die.
- [Destin] So that's why it exists like this.
- That's why it exists like this.
And then when it comes out of that grass stage,
it'll put on four or five feet of growth in that year,
get its quote unquote head above the fire,
and it just hangs out
for the next three, four hundred years.
- [Destin] So this is just a completely different strategy
for survival? - Absolutely.
Unique in the world.
- [Destin Voiceover] When the longleaf pine is
in the grass stage, it's busy making a very deep taproot,
which also means it's drought resistant.
Check out the comparison of this loblolly pine
and this longleaf pine.
- This is only two years old and that's four years old.
- [Destin] We're in 35 days of drought.
Did this die recently?
- Yeah this probably just happened
within the last three or four days.
- [Destin] Oh really? - Yeah.
- [Destin] So we've got some real data here.
- This is real data.
This is actual.
- [Destin] Loblolly pine died because of the drought.
The longleaf pine is just kicking it.
- He's just hanging out saying,
"I'm not quite ready to come out of the grass stage."
What that trigger's gonna be, nobody knows but--
- [Destin] At some point its gonna figure it out.
- My guess just based on the size now,
it's gonna come out next year.
- [Destin Voiceover] Odd as it might sound,
talking to Dr. Kush and Dr. Barlow taught me
that one of the reasons Granddaddy's trees might have died
would've been lack of fire.
Four days after visiting Auburn University,
I'm driving across northern Florida.
Trees on the left side of the road are tall and healthy
but they have burned trunks.
Trees on the right side of the road are crowded
and they look like scrub brush.
It all clicked when I saw this sign.
- I could not have planned this if I tried.
Turns out, there's a place down here
called the E.O. Wilson Biophilia Center.
They're all about the longleaf pine
and I have to show you what I learned.
These people are awesome.
This is Ashlyn. (Ashlyn laughs)
I just found this place.
And I'm seeing that right there,
which leads me to believe that you guys believe in burning
to promote longleaf pine health, is that right?
- Very controlled burning.
- [Destin] Controlled burning. (Ashlyn laughs)
But the whole idea is to get the fuel
at the bottom of the ecosystem
to take out all the scrub brush right?
- Exactly, yes.
- [Destin] Cool and you said there's somebody I can talk to?
- Yeah definitely, we'll find Bob.
- 'Kay we're gonna go see Turtle Bob
who knows about burning longleaf pines.
- Hi. - [Destin] Nice to meet you.
So you know about burning longleaf pines?
- Well, we've burned a few.
- [Ashlyn] Planted a few as well.
- Fire is important
to keep the longleaf pine ecosystem alive
because to start with, it requires bare mineral soil
to start germinating.
And then what it does is it opens it up enough
for gopher tortoises to survive.
Gopher tortoises have to have an open habitat.
- [Ashlyn] This is a gopher tortoise.
- [Destin] And these are the turtles,
or they're not turtles, they're tortoises,
that make the burrows right? - Yes.
- [Destin] And they make the burrows
as a result of the longleaf pine?
- They do make it in that nice open sandy soil
that can be found in the longleaf pine ecosystem.
And they dig those burrows really far into the ground
and it's not only important for them,
but they are a keystone species
because they're gonna dig those burrows
which can house up to 200 or 350 other species,
especially during those fires.
- [Destin] She's waving.
- Those animals need places to go.
Really good place to do that is gonna be
a big hole in the ground.
- [Destin Voiceover] Ashlyn took me out into the forest
and showed me several young longleaf pines
in the grass stage and then the secondary stage
known as the bottle brush phase,
which then leads to the sapling phase
and finally the mature trees.
Ashlyn took me out further into the forest
to show me the holes that the gopher tortoises dig
and this is where it all came together.
Because this tree can survive fire,
the underbrush gets cleared away
which paves way for this turtle
to gain access to the forest floor
where it can dig these holes.
As Burning Bob explained,
these holes support hundreds of other species
that're then able to live on the forest floor,
which creates an ecosystem
which can sustain even larger umbrella species
such as the black bear.
So it isn't about a single tree,
it's about an entire ecosystem.
An ecosystem which takes advantage
of one particular tree's ability to survive fire.
- [Destin] So this is what the natural forest looks like?
- Yes, if we didn't burn it, lightning would.
And then it would eventually have this nice open clear area.
Lots of room for the wildlife to live in
compared to this side. - [Destin] But this side.
- Lots of different kinds of trees.
We've got some slash pines, we've got some oak trees,
yaupon hollies, taking over, kind of crowding out
some of those other pine trees that would typically be here.
And then there's a ton of leafler on the ground.
We actually call that pine straw our fuel load.
If lightning were to strike that right now
it would burn entirely too hot entirely too quick
and would definitely turn into a wildfire
which would be very bad.
- So if I were to decide to plant a tree,
what would you tell me?
What do I need to know?
- I would say plant a longleaf
if you live in an area that'll sustain a longleaf.
You're gonna need to be upland, not too wet.
Definitely stick to the native plants.
- So look at the local environment and the ecosystem
and identify the silvics of the trees in your area
and figure out what trees will grow there
and then pick something like that, you'd say?
- Yeah, something that's a lot
of different animals are gonna use.
- Okay, so think about the whole ecosystem.
Don't just think about the one tree.
- Yeah, it doesn't have to look pretty
but it has a job.
- teamtrees.org that's the whole point of this entire video.
We've partnered with the Arbor Day Foundation
because they are the experts.
They understand the silvics,
they know exactly what tree to plant in what location,
and the goal is simple.
We want to raise $20 million for 20 million trees by 2020.
And to do that we're gonna need your help.
And I would encourage you to consider going to teamtrees.org
and donating or right here on the YouTube page,
there's a donate button below.
If you use that, YouTube's gonna pay
for the transaction fees.
This is a huge thing that we're all doing together.
It is rare to have the opportunity
to plant one tree for one dollar
so I'm gonna take advantage of that.
I don't know if you've ever planted a tree.
It's kind of expensive to go buy an individual tree
and put it in the ground but at this kind of scale
you can literally plant a thousand trees
for a thousand dollars
or a hundred trees for a hundred dollars
or 10 trees for 10 dollars.
Your money goes a really long way to help the environment.
So if you're interested in doing that, teamtrees.org
or click the button below to donate here on YouTube.
In fact, the sponsor for this video, Hello Fresh,
they've agreed to donate $5000 to plant 5000 trees.
This episode of Smarter Every Day
and my donation to teamtrees.org is sponsored by Hello Fresh
and you're gonna help today, Dad?
- I'm gonna try.
- [Destin] I don't ever think you've cooked in front of me.
Maybe-- - Hot dogs
and eggs is all I know.
- [Destin] All right okay, there we go.
Today we're gonna do pineapple poblano beef tacos
and we're gonna cook for Mom.
You think we can do this?
You've assemble spacecraft.
- I have.
- [Destin] We can do this.
Got our meats, got our ingredients.
Let's get to chopping.
Hello Fresh is a home meal kit delivery system
that sends you fresh ingredients to your house.
You can cook it, it's really simple.
Just follow the instructions
and you can make a delicious meal for your family.
Poblano. - Poblano.
- [Destin Voiceover] If you want to make Hello Fresh
at your house, you can get it by going to hellofresh.com
and using the promo code smarter80 at checkout.
That gets you 80 bucks off the first month of Hello Fresh,
which is like eight free meals.
That is a lot of food and a lot of savings.
- Drizzle? Oh.
- [Destin] Oh? - Oh?
- [Destin] You're the one I got it from.
Hello Fresh is now from $5.66 per serving
so you can feed your family delicious food
at an affordable price.
All right, moment of truth.
What do you think?
- It's good.
- Big thanks to Hello Fresh for sponsoring this.
Big portion of this sponsorship is gonna go towards trees
Please consider going to teamtrees.org
and joining Team Trees.
Also go check out all these other videos
these other creators are making.
We're all in this together.
We are trying to do this huge movement together
and we need you on Team Trees.
So that's it!
I'm Destin, you're getting smarter every day.
Have a good one.