Longleaf pine forests once encompassed more than 90 million acres of the North American landscape. Today, only three percent, or 3.4 million acres, remain and, yet, Longleaf pine forests represent some of the world's most biologically diverse ecosystems. The Longleaf pine ecosystem provides critical habitat for 29 threatened and endangered species.
The Longleaf Pine Initiative began when an interdepartmental Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) among USDA, the Department of Interior and the Department of Defense identified the longleaf pine ecosystem as a priority resource concern.
As part of the initiative, NRCS and its conservation partners in nine states are helping private landowners improve the sustainability and profitability of Longleaf pine forest ecosystems. The following important conservation practices improve the forests' health: forest stand improvement, prescribed burning, restoration and management of rare or declining habitats, and tree/shrub establishment.
NRCS Farm Bill conservation programs provide landowners technical and financial assistance. States involved in the initiative include Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia.