Why MetLife is Investing in One of North America's Most Important Ecosystems
If you want to see the sort of miraculous comeback Mother Nature can make with the right assist, look no further than the Lower Mississippi Alluvial Valley. Here, along the Mississippi River, a partnership between forward-thinking investors and landowners is not only bringing a vast, robust ecosystem of trees, plants and wildlife back from the brink, but also creating revenue for locals and stimulating the local economy.
And these efforts come not a moment too soon.
Once densely populated with forests and wetlands totaling over 22 million acres in size, today only 20 percent of these previously thriving habitats still exist. With much of it converted to agricultural land — a practice that started in the 1960’s and 70’s — the sparseness of the land leaves communities more susceptible to damage from hurricanes and flooding. And animals have been abandoning the area — nearly two-thirds of all bird species fly along the Mississippi River during migration, but those numbers have decreased as forests and woodlands have been converted to farmland.