Collaborative Partnerships: Ecosystems
Recreating a longleaf pine-wiregrass ecosystem requires fire, usually through prescribed burns, to create open savanna. During their first few years of growth, longleaf pines do not look like trees, but grass, until fire sparks their growth.
The Longleaf Legacy Program helps restore the South's stately longleaf pine ecosystem, with the added benefit of capturing and storing atmospheric carbon dioxide. The program operates through a partnership between Southern Company - including its four electric-utility operating companies - and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF).
Longleaf pine forests once carpeted 90 million acres of the southern U.S. but declined to less than 3 percent of the area. That decline has been halted and reversed due to the longleaf restoration activities of dozens of partner organizations. Longleaf pines now occupy more than 5 percent of their original range. Longleaf ecosystems contain a stunning diversity of plants - nearly 600 species, half of which are considered rare. Restoration of the ecosystem is a top priority for government agencies, conservation groups and the public. Millions of people enjoy hunting, fishing, birding and hiking in longleaf forests.
Launched in 2004, Southern Company and NFWF each contributed $500,000 annually to this 10-year partnership, so a combined $1 million was made available through a competitive grant program for projects within the Southern Company system electric-utility service territory. Grantees are required to match all awards. In addition, Southern Company provides $100,000 annually to support the NFWF's own longleaf conservation efforts.
Longleaf Stewardship Fund
Established in 2011, NFWF's Longleaf Stewardship Fund is a public-private partnership that includes the U.S. Department of Defense, USDA Forest Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Natural Resources Conservation Service and private funding from Southern Company, International Paper's Forestland Stewards Initiative and Altria Group. The fund supports restoration of the longleaf pine ecosystem and implementation of the Range-Wide Conservation Plan for Longleaf Pine.
The Longleaf Stewardship Fund builds on the success of the Longleaf Legacy Program, which for eight years invested more than $8.7 million into projects to restore over 87,000 acres of longleaf pine forest and the native species that rely on it. Since 2012, the Longleaf Stewardship Fund has invested more than $18.4 million in projects that will restore more than 62,500 acres, improve more than 776,000 additional acres of longleaf pine forest and benefit the native species that rely on those forests.
The Longleaf Stewardship Fund grants are awarded based on the following objectives:
- Restoring the longleaf pine ecosystem through collaborative and result-oriented actions that help advance the goals of the Range-Wide Conservation Plan for Longleaf Pine
- Maintaining, enhancing and expanding productive understory habitat of the longleaf pine ecosystem
- Aiding federal agencies in achieving their mission-oriented objectives
- Supporting recovery of iconic species through habitat enhancements
- Strengthening the capacity of local organizations to establish, advance or lead local longleaf pine ecosystem restoration efforts
- Expanding the number of landowners engaged in longleaf pine restoration and maintenance on private lands, and supporting working forests by demonstrating their environmental and socioeconomic benefits
Figures are approximate. Includes completed and anticipated results, estimated for funded projects cumulatively through 2016 within the Southern Company service area.
- Awarded 85 grants to 29 different conservation organizations and agencies
- Awarded more than $17.5 million; with matching funds, total on-the-ground impact of nearly $78.3 million
- More than 924,000 acres enhanced, including more than 116,000 acres replanted with more than 61.3 million seedlings
2016 Grant Recipients
The 2016 Longleaf Stewardship Fund projects within the Southern Company system service area include:
- The Fort Stewart-Altamaha Longleaf Partnership (Georgia) will establish 171 acres of longleaf pine and improve an additional 12,000 acres of existing longleaf habitat with prescribed fire. Restoration efforts will improve habitat for gopher tortoise and other species on public and private lands within close proximity to Fort Stewart and Townsend Bombing Range. Partners will also build a network of landowners focusing on native groundcover restoration through prescribed burns, as well as native seed collection and planting.
- The Okefenokee-Osceola Local Implementation Team (Georgia/Florida) will establish 300 acres of longleaf pine and improve management of an additional 61,250 acres of existing longleaf habitat on public and private lands. Management activities will reduce hazardous fuel loads in one of the most fire-prone areas of the U.S. Partners will continue a successful collaboration with the Jacksonville Job Corps Center to train young people to serve on longleaf restoration teams. Partners will also conduct longleaf restoration workshops for at least 200 private landowners.
- The Apalachicola Regional Stewardship Alliance (Georgia/Florida) will plant 1,825 acres of longleaf pine and improve more than 21,000 acres of existing longleaf habitat through prescribed fire, removal of invasive plants and planting of native groundcover. Workshops will educate private landowners on groundcover restoration, fire planning and invasive species management, with financial assistance available for landowners interested in restoring longleaf on their lands. Partners will reintroduce eastern indigo snakes, a threatened species, on lands owned by The Nature Conservancy and monitor progress.
- The Chattahoochee Fall Line Conservation Partnership (Georgia/Alabama) will accelerate and demonstrate longleaf pine conservation on more than 15,000 acres in Georgia and Alabama, with particular emphasis on privately owned land. Outcomes include planting longleaf on 1,900 acres and implementing prescribed fire on 13,800 acres, including lands protected around Fort Benning. Partners will engage with more than 2,000 private landowners, with at least five landowners committed to enrolling in financial assistance programs that will enhance at least 2,000 acres of longleaf pine habitat.
- The Talladega Mountain Conservation Longleaf Partnership (Georgia/Alabama) will establish 236 acres of longleaf pine and improve 37,000 acres of existing longleaf habitat with prescribed fire. The project will increase capacity within the Dugdown corridor, allowing partners to develop a conservation plan, increase partnerships with private landowners and foster greater collaboration between conservation organizations and agencies working in Georgia and Alabama.
- The Gulf Coastal Plain Ecosystem Partnership (Florida/Alabama) will plant 374 acres of longleaf pine and improve more than 36,000 acres of existing longleaf habitat with prescribed fire and other management practices. Restoration will take place on the Yellow River Ravines, an important corridor connecting Eglin Air Force Base to the larger Blackwater River State Forest/Conecuh National Forest complex, as well as other public and private lands benefiting the installation. Rare species recovery will center on the red-cockaded woodpecker, reticulated salamander, eastern indigo snake and gopher tortoise.
- The American Forest Foundation, Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and partners (Alabama) will restore 700 acres of longleaf pine on the Coosa County Wildlife Management Area and engage and educate 2,000 adjacent family forest owners on sustainable forest management practices and longleaf restoration. The project will provide long-term habitat benefits to species of concern such as the red-cockaded woodpecker, while also providing technical assistance and outreach activities, including field days for private landowners.
- The National Wildlife Federation and Alabama Wildlife Federation (Alabama) will restore and enhance 5,000 acres of longleaf pine habitat and advance longleaf mapping and measurement in Alabama. Ongoing project strategies include identifying priority areas where the impact of longleaf restoration is highest, providing landowners with technical assistance to develop conservation plans and offering educational opportunities including workshops and field days for private landowners.
- The Land Trust for the Mississippi Coastal Plain and partners (Mississippi) will restore and enhance 527 acres of longleaf pine on the DeSoto National Forest and the Gopher Frog Tract to support the endangered dusky gopher frog. Partners will remove invasive species, thin trees, implement a fire regime and plant longleaf pine to promote better survival of endangered and threatened species. In addition, work with Mississippi Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks will provide a conservation area for translocated gopher tortoises on the Gopher Frog Tract once conditions are satisfactory for their return.
- The Forest Landowners Association (Florida) will engage mid-to-large working forest landowners (1,000 to 100,000 acres), as well as companies that manage large forestland holdings for family owners, to identify opportunities for longleaf restoration and management. In addition to peer-to-peer meetings and forums, the project will foster communication between the association's member network, longleaf stakeholders and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to help landowners understand and address regulatory barriers or disincentives to planting and maintaining longleaf pine.
2015 Grant Recipients
The 2015 Longleaf Stewardship Fund projects within the Southern Company system service area include:
- The Nature Conservancy's Alabama Chapter and the American Forest Foundation will partner on a strategic education and outreach effort to increase longleaf restoration on private lands in southwest Alabama. Partners will implement a social marketing outreach effort to engage private landowners in sustainable forest management. In total, outreach activities conducted across Alabama will result in 2,500 landowners contacted, 160 citizens engaged and 10 landowners certified to sustainability programs. Partners will establish 200 acres of longleaf pine and assist with delivery of prescribed fire and other management treatments on an additional 4,000 acres.
- The Alabama Forest Resources Center and partners will continue habitat management benefitting the red-cockaded woodpecker (RCW) on Enon and Sehoy plantations and adjacent properties. Work performed from 2007 to 2014 including annual provisioning of artificial cavities, monitoring and competitor management resulted in 29 RCW groups, with the two subpopulations separated by less than 3 miles. Continued management through this project will help the RCWs maintain 30 or more self-sustaining groups. The project will also maintain habitats through regular prescribed burning and mid-story control, along with planting 100 acres of longleaf pine in gaps of dying shortleaf. Additional partners include U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Forest Service, Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, U.S. Department of Defense, Auburn University, Alabama Wildlife Federation, Longleaf Alliance, The Nature Conservancy, Alabama Natural Heritage Program, private landowners.
- The Fort Stewart/Altamaha Longleaf Restoration Partnership will continue efforts to restore and enhance longleaf pine habitat in the Fort Stewart/Altamaha SGA. Partners will establish 210 acres of longleaf pine within the Sansavilla Wildlife Management Area, which contains the second largest gopher tortoise population in Georgia and provides a critical buffer to Townsend Bombing Range. The project will enhance 8,000 acres of longleaf habitat on public and private lands using prescribed fire and establish native groundcover seed collection sites on private lands. Additional partners include Fort Stewart/Hunter Army Airfield, Marine Corps Air Station - Beaufort, S.C., Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Georgia Forestry Commission, Natural Resources Conservation Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, The Georgia Land Trust, The Nature Conservancy, The Longleaf Alliance, The Conservation Fund, International Forest Company, Georgia Power, The Orianne Society, Reese Thompson.
- The Apalachicola Regional Stewardship Alliance will build upon its previous programs through a focus on longleaf restoration efficiencies and novel outreach tools. The project will plant 1,300 acres of longleaf pine and enhance an additional 20,800 acres of existing longleaf habitat. Partners will continue to fund long-term projects that balance restoration scale and complexity, such as the complete sandhill reconstruction at Torreya State Park, and bring new properties in strategic geographies into the beginning stages of longleaf conversion. The project will also pursue innovative communication approaches to further educate the local community on longleaf pine. Partners include The Nature Conservancy - Florida, U.S. Department of Defense - Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Northwest Florida Water Management District, North Florida Program of The Nature Conservancy, United States Forest Service - Apalachicola National Forest, Florida Forest Service - Tate's Hell State Forest and Private Landowner Financial Assistance, Wallwood Boy Scout Camp, and University of Florida.
- The Talladega Mountain Longleaf Pine Conservation Partnership will further longleaf restoration throughout the mountain longleaf pine region of Alabama and northwest Georgia. The project will create and support a prescribed fire crew that will operate within the project range for direct support of restoration efforts, including burns on 12,500 acres of existing longleaf habitat. Partners will also establish longleaf on 282 acres of the Choccolocco State Forest - an important corridor and linkage between two of the most important areas in the montane longleaf range, the Mountain Longleaf National Wildlife Refuge and the Talladega National Forest. Partners include The Nature Conservancy - Alabama, U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, The Longleaf Alliance, Alabama Wildlife Federation, National Wild Turkey Federation, Natural Resource Conservation Service, Alabama Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division, Alabama Forestry Commission, Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Munford School, Jacksonville State University, Berry College.
- The Okefenokee/Osceola Longleaf Implementation Team will conduct longleaf pine restoration and hazard fuel reduction on public and private lands in one of the most fire-prone areas of the U.S. The project will establish longleaf pine on 444 acres of public and private lands and use hazard fuel mapping to prioritize 5,000 acres for prescribed fire and other fuel-reduction techniques. Goals include prescribed burns conducted on 20,000 acres of public and private lands and an additional 360 acres of private land treated to reduce fuel levels. Workshops will provide at least 100 private landowners with information on longleaf pine management and restoration. Partners include The Nature Conservancy - Georgia, U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Florida Forest Service, Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission, Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Georgia Wildlife Federation, Greater Okefenokee Association of Landowners, National Wild Turkey Federation, The Conservation Fund, The Longleaf Alliance, The Nature Conservancy, Rayonier, Superior Pine, Toledo Manufacturing.
- The Chattahoochee Fall Line Conservation Partnership will accelerate and demonstrate longleaf conservation on more than 22,000 acres in west Georgia and east Alabama, including 1,500 acres of longleaf planted and more than 20,000 acres enhanced through prescribed fire and other treatments. The project will build on a network of model demonstration sites for landowners to observe restoration and management results and understand the economic and ecological costs and benefits of longleaf. Outreach will build on past successes in Georgia and expand into Alabama, engaging 1,000 stakeholders and introducing 200 private landowners to cost-share programs. Partners include The Nature Conservancy - Georgia, The Longleaf Alliance, Jones Ecological Research Center, Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Georgia Forestry Commission, Fort Benning, National Resources Conservation Service, The Nature Conservancy, Auburn University, Columbus State University, Tuskegee University, Alabama Forestry Commission, Tuskegee National Forest, Alabama Wildlife Federation, Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, East Gulf Coast Joint Venture, National Wildlife Federation, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
- The Longleaf Alliance and partners will monitor approximately 110 groups of RCWs for breeding activity, band nestlings of successful breeding pairs and translocate approximately 30 subadults from the pool of successful fledglings on the Apalachicola National Forest (ANF) in Florida. The project will also collect cluster, cavity-tree and cavity-status data on multiple clusters on the ANF. These efforts provide critical status data annually on 275 of the approximately 559 active RCW clusters on the ANF, a significant contribution to the world's largest RCW population.
- The Gulf Coastal Plain Ecosystem Partnership will complete 24,000 acres of prescribed fire, 250 acres of invasive species control and 575 acres of mechanical treatments. The project will establish more than 730 acres of longleaf pine, including on an important parcel linking Blackwater River State Forest to Eglin Air Force Base. Partners will use ecological monitoring, surveying and mapping to continue to improve longleaf restoration through adaptive management. Habitat improvements will benefit both the reticulated salamander and the red-cockaded woodpecker. In addition, partners will increase private landowner outreach, education and technical assistance. Partners include The Longleaf Alliance, U.S. Department of Defense, Florida Forest Service, Northwest Florida Water Management District, National Forests in Alabama, Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Nokuse Plantation, National Park Service, Gulf Power, The Nature Conservancy - Florida, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Westervelt Ecological Services.
- The Alabama Forestry Association and partners will establish community-based landowner prescribed fire networks in order to increase prescribed fire capacity, resulting in 200 acres of longleaf pine established and 7,000 acres of existing habitat enhanced to benefit fire-dependent species including the black pine snake. Partners will train landowners to become active burners and coordinate access to technical and cost-share assistance, which will create a replicable model for increasing regional prescribed fire capacity. The project will directly distribute information to 5,900 landowners in the 14 counties of Alabama and Mississippi historically occupied by the black pine snake. Additional partners include Mississippi Forestry Association, American Forest Foundation, Alabama Forestry Commission, Alabama Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division, Alabama Prescribed Fire Council, Mississippi Forestry Commission, Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks, Mississippi Prescribed Fire Council, Natural Resources Conservation Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Forest Service, National Forests of Mississippi.
- The Longleaf Alliance and partners will pilot an innovative project to integrate existing longleaf ecosystem databases and apply remote sensing and statistical methodologies to map the location and extent of existing longleaf pine in a repeatable, easy, cost-efficient fashion across four significant geographic areas. Outputs will include: 1) a documented, easily repeatable methodology that estimates the extent and condition of longleaf ecosystems using readily available data; 2) a newly designed database that estimates the extent and condition of longleaf ecosystems; 3) a new range-wide field protocol for evaluating remotely-sensed longleaf condition; and, 4) a series of examples demonstrating how these outputs can be combined with existing datasets and used to develop spatially explicit longleaf restoration priorities.
2014 Grant Recipients
The 2014 Longleaf Stewardship Fund projects within the Southern Company system service area include:
- Apalachicola Regional Stewardship Alliance- This project will support existing longleaf management initiatives and continue to increase local implementation team capacity around the Apalachicola National Forest and St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge. The Nature Conservancy, Florida and partners will establish 1,700 acres of longleaf and enhance more than 26,000 acres of existing longleaf habitat with prescribed fire, mid-story hardwood treatment and invasive species removal. The project will benefit the gopher tortoise and reduce wildlife risk, which will support the natural resource and encroachment protection goals of Tyndall Air Force Base.
- Gulf Coastal Plain Ecosystem Partnership- This project will restore and manage the longleaf ecosystem in the Florida panhandle and southern Alabama. The Longleaf Alliance and partners will burn 20,000 acres, control invasive species on 350 acres, treat 1,100 acres of mid-story hardwoods and restore 330 acres of longleaf pine in Blackwater River State Forest. Outreach to engage private landowners will include demonstration sites showcasing effective methods to establish native groundcover and control invasive species. The project also will support the natural resource and encroachment protection goals of Eglin Air Force Base by expanding potential off-base habitat for listed species, including the flatwoods salamander.
- Georgia Department of Natural Resources- This project will restore 400 acres of longleaf pine in the Big Lazer Creek Wildlife Management Area in west-central Georgia. This project will promote native groundcover restoration for the benefit of bobwhite quail, Bachman's sparrow and other savanna-dependent species. The forest also will serve as a highly visible example of longleaf habitat to the many visitors to the Big Lazer Creek WMA.
- Fort Stewart/Altamaha Longleaf Restoration Partnership- This project will continue developing a local implementation team to expand the longleaf pine ecosystem restoration on public and private lands in the Fort Stewart/Altamaha vicinity of southeast Georgia. The Longleaf Alliance will work with partners to burn 14,000 acres on public and private lands, plant 700 acres of longleaf, establish a 5-acre groundcover demonstration area and conduct two landowner outreach field days. The project will benefit the gopher tortoise and other wildlife and support the natural resource goals and military mission of Fort Stewart and Townsend Bombing Range.
- National Wildlife Federation and Alabama Wildlife Federation- This project will work with partners to restore 4,000 acres of longleaf pine on private lands and enhance an additional 1,000 acres with prescribed fire. The project will continue progress connecting, partnering and building a network of practitioners and advocates of longleaf pine restoration in Alabama. The project also will provide technical assistance and information to landowners in high-priority areas, including cost-share programs to develop conservation plans for establishing and managing longleaf and a prescribed fire training series.
- Talladega-Mountain Longleaf Pine Conservation Partnership- This project will engage private landowners in on-the-ground longleaf restoration and education projects. The Nature Conservancy's Alabama Chapter and partners will establish longleaf on 100 acres of private lands and 300 acres of the Coosa Wildlife Management Area, which is extremely important to one of Alabama's largest red-cockaded woodpecker populations. The project also will enhance more than 8,100 acres of longleaf habitat through prescribed fire and other management practices.
- DeSoto National Forest/Camp Shelby Partnership- This project will engage consulting foresters to develop private sector capacity and expertise to restore and manage longleaf around the DeSoto National Forest area of southeast Mississippi. Mississippi State University will support a series of longleaf courses and workshops to train certified burn managers and consulting foresters who work with private landowners and use workshops and financial incentives to educate and engage private landowners in planting longleaf and conducting prescribed burns. The project will restore 490 acres of longleaf, enhance more than 3,000 acres of existing longleaf habitat, and engage 100 private landowners through education and technical assistance. Efforts will improve habitat for a number of at-risk species on lands near Camp Shelby while also supporting the installation's natural resource goals.
2013 Grant Recipients
The 2013 Longleaf Stewardship Fund projects within the Southern Company system service area include:
- Georgia Department of Natural Resources- The Georgia Department of Natural Resources will reforest approximately 550 acres of cut over land to longleaf pine, preserve herbaceous groundcover, and improve habitat for the gopher tortoise, eastern indigo snake, northern bobwhite, and other high priority species in the area. Project work will take place on the 2,722-acre Rocky Hammock tract.
- Longleaf Alliance- The Longleaf Alliance, in partnership with the Orianne Society, The Nature Conservancy, Georgia DNR, and private landowners, will continue to restore and enhance longleaf pine habitat on public and private lands in Southeast Georgia by implementing prescribed fire treatments on over 10,000 acres, establishing 250 acres of longleaf pine forests, and conducting private landowner outreach and assistance to connecting longleaf pine forests throughout the Altamaha SGA.
- The Nature Conservancy, Florida- The Apalachicola Regional Stewardship Alliance (ARSA), including the Nature Conservancy, Florida state agencies and others, and in partnership with Tyndall Air Force, will advance longleaf pine ecosystem improvement and establishment on state, federal and private properties in a portion of the Florida panhandle managed by the members of ARSA. Specific deliverables include 1,140 acres of restored longleaf habitat on public and private lands; 20,000 acres of prescribed fire assistance; 30 private landowners enrolled in government incentive programs; and the development of a land management and conservation plan for the entire SGA.
- Longleaf Alliance- The Longleaf Alliance will engage a diverse group of landowner entities in order to restore longeaf pine in two separate areas of the Gulf Coastal Plain Ecosystem Partnership landscape. Conservation Forestry, a timber investment management organization (TIMO), will restore 150 acres of their land to longleaf. The Longleaf Alliance will also work with the Florida Service to restore 250 acres of the Yellow River Ravines, an important buffer and wildlife connector between Eglin Air Force Base and Blackwater River State Forest/Conecuh National Forest.
- The Nature Conservancy, Georgia- The Nature Conservancy, Georgia in partnership with Fort Benning, the Georgia Forestry Commission, and NRCS, and others as part of the Chattahoochee Fall Line Conservation Partnership, will accelerate and demonstrate longleaf pine conservation on over 10,000 acres in west Georgia and east Alabama within the Fort Benning SGA. This project will provide technical assistance and outreach to private landowners and develop model forest demonstration sites to inform landowners of the economic and ecological benefits of longleaf pine. Fire teams will also expand the use of prescribe fire across the SGA, which is critical in restoring and maintaining a healthy longleaf pine forest.
- The Conservation Fund- The Conservation Fund, in coordination with federal and state agencies and private landowners, will create an Implementation Team that will organize and drive the public-private, multi-state longleaf establishment and understory management on public and private lands in Georgia and Florida as part of the Okefenokee/Osceola Significant Geographic Area. The project will establish longleaf pine on nearly 3,000 acres and enhance over 34,000 additional acres of longleaf pine.
- Longleaf Alliance- The Longleaf Alliance and The Nature Conservancy will establish 1,800 acres and improve over 3,000 acres of existing longleaf pine by increasing acres of prescribed fire, and enhancing restoration delivery across public and private lands in Alabama and northwestern Florida. The project will build partnerships, train practitioners, provide technical assistance and outreach to private and public land managers, and increase the effective application of prescribed fire on private lands.
- Longleaf Alliance- The Longleaf Alliance and the Gulf Coastal Plain Ecosystem Partnership (GCPEP) will advance longleaf pine management and restoration across the GCPEP landscape by conducting prescribed burns on 25,000 acres, restoring 750 acres to longleaf pine, controlling 250 acres of invasive species, establishing a 40-acre native seed production area, and relocating 125 gopher tortoises to a conservation area.
2012 Grant Recipients
The Longleaf Legacy program is focused on restoring the South's signature longleaf pine ecosystem to conserve biological diversity and sequester carbon. The following organizations were awarded new Longleaf Legacy grants in 2012:
- Georgia Department of Natural Resources - in partnership with the Department of Defense, the Georgia Land Trust and the Longleaf Alliance, will develop a longleaf implementation team, plant longleaf on 1,350 acres and prescribe burn on 5,000 acres of land in the Altamaha corridor and on Army Compatible Use Buffer (ACUB) lands closer to Ft. Stewart. This project will help link protected ACUB lands with Ft. Stewart, creating corridors for species currently isolated on the base.
- Georgia Department of Natural Resources- in cooperation with The Nature Conservancy, the Orianne Society and private landowners, will plant 310 acres of longleaf, restore groundcover on 215 acres and prescribe burn 3,100 acres in the upper Altamaha-Ocmulgee River corridor, complementing efforts taking place on the adjacent Fort Stewart/Altamaha Significant Geographic Area. This project will serve as a model for longleaf restoration efforts on private lands throughout the region, resulting in less isolation of quality habitats, mitigation of low-density residential sprawl and specifically benefitting the threatened indigo snake and gopher tortoise.
- National Wild Turkey Federation - in partnership with the South Carolina Forestry Commission and Georgia Forestry Commission, will facilitate longleaf restoration through targeted outreach and incentive funding to non-industrial private forest landowners and plant 960 acres of longleaf in the Savannah River Corridor. This project will help bridge the gap from the western South Carolina sandhills to the Ashepoo/Combahee/Edisto River Basin in lower South Carolina, and the Ft. Stewart/Altamaha SGA on the Georgia side of the Savannah River.
- Florida Forest Service- as part of the Gulf Coastal Plain Ecosystem Partnership, will establish 900 acres of longleaf and prescribe burn over 59,000 acres in the Blackwater River, Pine Log, and Point Washington State Forests in the Florida Panhandle, increasing longleaf forest enhancements in the vital area between Eglin Air Force Base and the Conecuh National Forest. The goal is to ensure a sustainable longleaf pine forest with an uneven-aged forest structure, protecting land from natural disasters and providing habitat for red-cockaded woodpeckers, fox squirrels and other game and non-game species.
- Federation of Southern Cooperatives/Land Assistance Fund, Inc.- in partnership with the Longleaf Alliance; USDA; the National Wildlife Federation; and Auburn, Tuskegee and Alabama A&M Universities, will provide outreach and technical assistance to over 150 limited-resource and socially disadvantaged landowners, impacting 2,000 acres in Alabama through a mix of active longleaf leaf pine reestablishment and management.
- The Nature Conservancy, Alabama- in partnership with the National Wild Turkey Federation, will establish 100 acres of longleaf at the Splinter Hill Bog Preserve and utilize prescribed fire expertise as well as established landowner outreach tactics to encourage and assist private landowners to manage longleaf on their lands through the application of prescribed fire. This project also will support ongoing work with the US Fish and Wildlife Service, NRCS, Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, and the Gulf Coastal Plain Ecosystem Partnership.
- The Nature Conservancy, Mississippi- will create a local coalition to determine longleaf restoration goals, burn 650 acres and plant longleaf on 200 acres on areas around DeSoto National Forest and Camp Shelby. Coalition partners include the US Forest Service; US Fish and Wildlife Service; NRCS; Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks; Mississippi Forestry Commission; Mississippi State University Extension Service; University of Southern Mississippi; the Longleaf Alliance and private lands stakeholders with longleaf experience in the Desoto National Forest/Camp Shelby SGA.
- Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks- coordinating with Wildlife Mississippi, Mississippi Forestry Commission, US Fish and Wildlife Service, National Wild Turkey Federation, Audubon and private landowners, will provide seedlings and cost-share assistance to plant nearly 642,000 longleaf pine trees on 1,180 acres of private lands in south-central Mississippi.
Additionally, a special project funded to inform the overall longleaf program strategy included: Joseph W. Jones Ecological Research Center- will partner with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) to convene a collaborative working group of longleaf pine restoration professionals to synthesize the current state of longleaf knowledge and develop a set of longleaf pine conservation outcomes and performance metrics. This information will be used to help select and evaluate investments made through NFWF's Longleaf Stewardship Fund grant program.
About the longleaf pine
- Longest leaves of eastern pines
- Slow-growing tree lives over 300 years
- Once extended from southeastern Virginia to Florida and west through Louisiana and Texas
- Today are only found in small patches throughout that range
- Goes through a grass stage before growing into a tree
- Over 30 endangered and threatened species, including red-cockaded woodpeckers and indigo snakes, rely on longleaf pine for habitat
- Can withstand severe windstorms, resist pests, tolerate wildfires and drought and capture carbon pollution from the atmosphere.
- National Wildlife Federation