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, including rare and endangered wildlife like the indigo snake, 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.
NFWF's Longleaf Stewardship Fund expands, enhances and accelerates longleaf pine ecosystem restoration across longleaf pine’s historical range. It is a landmark public-private partnership supported with federal funding from the Department of Defense, the U.S. Forest Service, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and private funding from Southern Company, International Paper’s Forestland Stewards Initiative and Altria Group.
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 or lead local longleaf pine ecosystem restoration efforts; and
- 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.
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.