Deforestation is one of the world’s leading environmental threats. Forests not only cover 31% of the Earth’s surface, but also mitigate climate change, provide habitats for nearly all land-based species, purify water and air, and much more. It is crucial that we take action now and prioritize reforestation. Read below about Harpeth Conservancy’s reforestation efforts and how you can get involved!

Tree Planting

Best time of year for implementation: November to March 

Trees and other vegetation, such as grasses and shrubs, along a stream bank provide a buffer between the land and water.  This buffer is known as the Riparian Zone.  A healthy riparian zone is important along the Harpeth River and its tributaries, because it cleans water, reduces flood damage and property loss, restores groundwater supply, and protects biodiversity.  Every year, Harpeth Conservancy completes reforestation projects along the Harpeth River and its tributaries to help restore this riparian zone.


Stream Bank Stabilization

Best time of year for implementation: July to October

There are many methods used to stabilize stream banks and control stream bank erosion. Successful stream bank restoration requires choosing an appropriate method, or combination of methods for the situation at hand. Bare soil along the upper bank might be restored simply by planting a mix of native trees, shrubs, and prairie plants, while a heavily eroded 300′ section of the Harpeth River with 20′ high banks sloughing into the river would require more resource-intensive methods, such as terracing, installation of coir bundles, landscaping fabrics, native plantings, and even rocks at the toe.

Live staking is a simple and effective method for fortifying riparian zones and controlling minor erosion and stream bank instability. Live stakes consist of cuttings from trees and shrubs, such as willows and dogwoods, which are easily planted in riparian areas and quickly produce results. Coupled with tree sapling plantings, live staking is an effective technique used by Harpeth Conservancy to restore stream banks to a natural and healthy state. For more information about live staking, see this brochure from University of Tennessee Extension.

Tree revetments are a stream bank stabilization technique used by Harpeth Conservancy to restore severely eroded and undercut stream banks. Revetments are made by anchoring trees along the toe or bottom of a stream bank. They erosive power of incoming river flow while protecting the bank from further erosion. It is an effective, yet inexpensive, method for controlling stream bank erosion. 

Sources and Additional Information