Forests once blanketed 24 million acres along the Mississippi River—forming the largest expanse of forested wetlands in North America. Cypress trees many hundreds of years old towered over bayous, swamps and rivers that teemed with life. Today, after centuries of clearing for agriculture, fewer than five million forested acres remain in the Delta, mostly in small, degraded patches.
The Nature Conservancy has worked for more than 30 years to protect and restore bottomland forests in Arkansas, Mississippi and Louisiana. Now innovative stream and forest restoration projects are returning more natural flow to rivers and re-establishing wetland forests on retired or unproductive farmlands.