Southern Company, in partnership with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) and other public and private partners, have collectively awarded $5.6 million in grants to restore, enhance and protect longleaf pine forests in eight Southeast states.
Southern Company contributed $500 thousand that will directly fund conservation for eleven projects in Georgia, Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, South Carolina and Mississippi.
In total, 23 grants from Southern Company and partners were awarded through NFWF’s Longleaf Stewardship Fund. Together, these grants are expected to establish more than 19,000 new acres of longleaf pine through plantings and will enhance an additional 327,000 acres of habitat through prescribed burning, invasive species removal and other forest management practices. Grantees will engage private landowners through workshops, trainings and one-on-one technical assistance to restore and maintain longleaf pine habitat on their lands.
“Restoring a remarkably diverse ecosystem that is deeply connected to the culture and economic growth of our region is reflective of our commitment to the communities we are proud to share with those we serve,” said Southern Company Operations Executive Vice President Stan Connally. “Conservation through the Longleaf Stewardship Fund will benefit a wide range of plants and wildlife that depend on longleaf pine habitat.”
The fund combines the financial and technical resources of its funding partners to accelerate the restoration of the longleaf pine ecosystem, while implementing the Range-Wide Conservation Plan for Longleaf Pine as part of America’s Longleaf Restoration Initiative.
“The Longleaf Stewardship Fund brings together public and private partners to conserve one of the most biodiverse habitats in the country,” said Jeff Trandahl, executive director and CEO of NFWF. “These projects will expand and improve habitat for threatened and endangered species, as well as help foster stewardship of longleaf habitat among local landowners.”
The Longleaf Stewardship Fund builds on the success of the Longleaf Legacy Program, a partnership between Southern Company and NFWF since 2004, which has invested over $8.7 million into projects that will restore more than 87,000 acres of longleaf pine forest and the native species that rely on it.
A complete list of the 2020 grants made through the Longleaf Stewardship Fund is available here.