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ACE Continues Support of American Forests’ Tree-Planting and Ecosystem Restoration Projects in Eleven Locations Worldwide

The ACE Group today announced the selection of nine national and two international forest restoration projects as part of its sponsorship of American Forests’ Global ReLeaf program, marking the first time the company has supported projects outside the U.S. under the program. In May, ACE renewed its sponsorship of the Global ReLeaf program, pledging to plant more than 13,000 trees – one for each environmental insurance policy written by ACE globally in 2011. Since it began its relationship with American Forests in 2007, ACE has sponsored more than 36,000 tree plantings through the program.

“Given the devastation from the recent wildfires in the western United States, now more than ever ACE is committed to our continued support of the American Forests Global ReLeaf program,” said William P. Hazelton, Executive Vice President, Environmental Risk, ACE USA. “We are very proud of the positive environmental impact our commitment has allowed us to provide over the past five years. In appreciation of our clients, we look forward to additional sponsorship in 2012 and the overall future progress of the forest restoration program.”

American Forests, the nation’s oldest nonprofit citizens’ conservation organization, helps people understand the need to restore forest ecosystems in urban and rural areas through community-based initiatives. The organization introduced Global ReLeaf to restore damaged forest ecosystems through the planting of trees. Since 1990, the program has planted more than 40 million trees to restore forest ecosystems in every state across the U.S. and more than 38 countries around the world. The goal of this campaign is to plant 100 million trees by the year 2020.

The ACE Group contributions supported the following tree-planting programs affiliated with American Forests Global ReLeaf program in 2011:

  • Arkansas (Ozark National Forest) - A series of spring tornados in 2011 swept through the Big Piney Ranger District of Ozark National Forest in northwestern Arkansas, taking acres of forest with them. One of the species most affected by these tornados was the shortleaf pine. The project in conjunction with the U.S. Forest Service restored 136,000 shortleaf pine trees that historically have been a prominent species in Ozark National Forest. The restoration focuses not only on rebuilding shortleaf pine in the area, but also ensuring that the forest is mixed growth. ACE contributed 2,000 trees to the 2011 Tornado Reforestation project.
  • California (Klamath National Forest) - In conjunction with the U.S. Forest Service, this project will plant 477,200 trees across 2,651 acres. The plantings will cover a handful of areas, including Siskiyou Wilderness Area and Crapo Creek north of Forks of Salmon — both of which were severely affected by wildfires. This project provides multiple benefits to local watersheds, scenery, recreation and wildlife. ACE contributed 1,000 trees to the Elk Complex Fire project.
  • Florida (Hal Scott Regional Preserve and Park) - In partnership with the St. Johns River Water Management District in Orange County, Florida, this project restores longleaf pine trees in Hal Scott Regional Preserve and Park, a park known for its variety of recreational opportunities. Over the centuries, longleaf pine habitat has been reduced to a mere 2.5 million acres, less than five percent of its historical range. This project focuses on planting 30,000 longleaf pine trees across 100 acres and restoring these trees to their historic density. ACE contributed 2,000 trees to the Hal Scott Regional Preserve and Park Longleaf Planting, Phase 4 project.
  • Michigan (Hiawatha National Forest) - Collaborating with the U.S. Forest Service, this project plans to restore thousands of Jack pine trees that have been defoliated by the Jack pine budworm. In order to reforest a fully stocked Jack pine stand, this project plans to plant 59,000 seedlings across 85 acres of Hiawatha National Forest, located in Northern Michigan. Once restored, this project will benefit wildlife by maintaining forest cover and habitat diversity for a number of different species ACE contributed 1,000 trees to the Compartment 23 Jack Pine Planting project.
  • Minnesota (Superior National Forest) - Last year, Minnesota’s Superior National Forest experienced the state’s largest wildfire, in acreage, in the last 80 years. The Pagami Creek Fire burned 90,000 acres, adding to the 75,000 acres the Ham Lake Fire had burned just four years earlier. Fire is a natural occurrence, but shifts in the forest’s species have made it more vulnerable to fires. In Superior National Forest, old-growth aspen and birch trees are being replaced by brush and firs which are at a higher risk of fire. Partnering with the U.S. Forest Service, the goal of this project is to plant 88,000 white, red and Jack pine; white and black spruce; and northern white cedar in the areas most at risk for wildfire in Superior National Forest. ACE contributed 1,500 trees North Shore Collaborative Restoration project.
  • Montana (Custer National Forest) - Bitterroot National Forest in southwest Montana and Idaho contains the largest expanse of continuous, pristine wilderness in the lower 48 states. Like most western forests, Bitterroot has been susceptible to wildfire, including the 2009 Kootenai Fire and then 2006 Gash Fire, which left much of the forest’s land in need of assistance. This project in partnership with the U.S. Forest Service will reforest the fire-devastated land with 79,000 ponderosa pine and western larch across 279 acres. ACE contributed 1,500 trees to the Kraft Springs Fire Rehabilitation project.
  • New Mexico (Santa Fe National Forest and Valles Caldera National Preserve) - This project’s new focus is to restore the ecological function to three streams in the upper headwaters of the Jemez Mountains, located in Santa Fe National Forest and Valles Caldera National Preserve. Riparian, woody vegetation is almost non-existent in the project areas. The project’s main focus is to restore the native riparian woody component within the floodplain by planting 100,000 trees. ACE contributed 1,000 trees to the Jemez Mountain Riparian Forest Re-Vegetation project.
  • Oregon (Deschutes National Forest, OR) - Established in 1908, Deschutes National Forest located in central Oregon covers more than 1.6 million acres along the eastern side of the Cascade Mountains. This national forest is known for its healthy habitats for fish, wildlife and vegetation. In 2010, the Rooster Rock Fire burned hundreds of acres of land located in the Sisters Ranger District of the forest. This project will plant 97,000 ponderosa pine trees to reforest 485 acres of land that need rehabilitation after this devastating fire. ACE contributed 1,000 trees to the Rooster Rock Fire Area Reforestation project.
  • Wyoming (Caribou-Targhee National Forest) - In Caribou-Targhee National Forest, this project in conjunction with the U.S. Forest Service, is planting 15,000 white bark pine seedlings in an effort to re-establish this keystone tree species in the Mountain West. The seedlings being used in this project are grown from the seeds of blister-rust resistant trees to help improve the survival rates of the white bark pine population. ACE contributed 1,000 trees to the White bark Pine Planting in Keg Springs Area project.
  • India - This riparian project will plant 64,102 native trees on the banks of the Gingee River in Sellipet Village, Puducherry, India. The immediate impact of these trees will help prevent or reduce soil erosion, clean and recharge ground water, sustain stream flow and act as windbreaks. In addition to restoring the ecosystem to aid communities along the Gingee River, RISE, a partner organization of American Forests, will educate the local communities on the importance of the newly planted trees and how the trees will improve people’s lives and the surrounding environment. ACE contributed 1,000 trees to the Strengthening River Bunds in Sellipet-Gingee River Bank of Puducherry project.
  • Mexico - In partnership with the La Cruz Habitat Protection Project, this project is planting 100,000 trees which will ensure the survival of the monarch butterflies by restoring their wintering habitat. Since 2006, this project has worked with local people by planting trees on their lands, training them in managing these forests and providing environmental education in schools near planting areas. The trees will provide forest cover and stabilize eroded lands and mountainsides, protect springs and streams and provide a much-needed buffer zone between the monarch’s winter home and the expanding human population in the region. ACE contributed 500 trees to the Forest for Monarch project.

To learn more about the company’s environmental insurance products and services, and its overall environmental initiative, please visit www.acegreen.com. For more information on American Forests, please visit www.americanforests.org.

The ACE Group is one of the world’s largest multiline property and casualty insurers. With operations in 53 countries, ACE provides commercial and personal property and casualty insurance, personal accident and supplemental health insurance, reinsurance and life insurance to a diverse group of clients. ACE Limited, the parent company of the ACE Group, is listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: ACE) and is a component of the S&P 500 index. Additional information can be found at: www.acegroup.com.

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