NORTHBROOK, Ill. (WBBM) — Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon says reforestation of 40 north suburban acres will pay big dividends for area residents in terms of cleaner air, cleaner water and wildlife habitat.

She spoke at dedication of 40,000 trees planted on former farmland of the Society of the Divine Word in suburban Northbrook.

Illinois Department of Natural Resources Forester David Griffith says the land is being planted with 16 different kinds of tree to ensure that a forest will remain even if a disease or pest arises to wipe out any one species.

LISTEN: Newsradio 780’s John Cody reports

He says some of the first trees planted on the 40 acres are green ash trees which the emerald ash borer is wiping out by the millions across Illinois. Griffith says while these ash trees will eventually succumb, other trees unaffected will spread out and take their place.

And he’s recommending as replacements: Gingko Trees, Kentucky Coffee trees and strangely enough: the Bald Cyprus, normally thought of as a tree from Louisiana and Florida swamps.

Griffith says they grow very well around the Chicago area, and make very hardy street trees. He says they thrive in an urban environment — dozens have been planted in West Suburban Glen Ellyn. He says the only drawback is that they don’t reproduce in the northern climates – and that he says is minor since street trees are all planted individually anyway.

Griffith says a 4% tax on tree harvests in Illinois funded cultivation of the seedlings in Illinois State nurseries in Southern Illinois.

He says the public benefits from the planting of the trees on private property because they clean the air, filter the water, shelter wildlife, and remove globe warming carbon dioxide from the air.

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