NRCS Announces Signup for Longleaf Pine in Alabama 5-12
Auburn, Ala., May 23, 2012
Longleaf pine forests once covered millions of acres throughout the Southeastern United States. Today, only a few thousand acres of this vital habitat remains. To help sustain, enhance and restore longleaf pine forests, USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) State Conservationist Dr. William Puckett announced the availability of more than $1 million to help private landowners restore and manage longleaf pine.
“The longleaf pine is one of our key native species; providing a home to hundreds of plant and animal species as well as being a tremendous economic resource,” Puckett said. “Restoring and expanding this species is only made possible through voluntary partnerships with conservation-minded landowners who share our goal of healthy forests.”
Longleaf pine habitat can contain as many as 300 different species of groundcover plants per acre, and approximately 60 percent of the amphibian and reptile species found in the Southeast. Additionally, this forested habitat is home to at least 122 endangered or threatened plant and animal species including the fox squirrel, northern bobwhite, red-cockaded woodpecker and gopher tortoise.
Funding for this initiative is provided through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) administered by NRCS. Approved participants will receive financial assistance for implementing conservation practices including planting longleaf pine, site preparation, installing firebreaks, and conducting prescribed burns. Applications are being accepted through June 15, 2012.
NRCS accepts applications for financial assistance on a continuous basis throughout the year. To begin the process, check with your local NRCS office at: http://offices.sc.egov.usda.gov
For more information about NRCS’ programs, initiatives, and services in Alabama, visit us online at: www.al.nrcs.usda.gov.