The longleaf pine ecosystem once encompassed more than 90 million acres of North America, from Virginia to Texas. Unique to the southeastern United States, it contains a stunning diversity of plants and animals -- nearly 600 species, including rare and endangered wildlife like the bobwhite quail, red cockaded woodpecker, and gopher tortoise. Unfortunately, only three percent of the original acreage remains, and threatened and endangered species that depend on the habitat are struggling to survive.
The Longleaf Stewardship Fund expands on longleaf restoration efforts across the nine states within longleaf pine’s historic range. It is a landmark public-private partnership that includes the U.S. Department of Defense, the U.S. Forest Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Natural Resources Conservation Service and Southern Company.
Funding priorities for this program include:
- 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 the recovery of iconic species through habitat enhancements
- Strengthening the capacity of local organizations to establish, advance and/or lead local longleaf pine ecosystem restoration efforts
- Expanding the number of landowners engaged in longleaf pine restoration and maintenance on private lands.
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.