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Longleaf Pine Initiative

Longleaf Pine Initiative
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longleaf pine initiative fy2020 map thumbnail
Download printable copy of FY 2020 LLPI map (PDF, 580KB)

  For more information:

Matthew Vandersande, LLPI Coordinator, (202) 690-1588
 

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FY20-24 Longleaf Pine Ecosystem Implementation Strategy

long leaf pine initiative fy2020 strategy cover thumbnailNRCS releases its five-year implementation strategy to restore, improve and maintain longleaf pine forests in the Southeast United States.

Download the strategy (PDF, 19MB)
 

 

Longleaf pine forests once encompassed more than 90 million acres across the Southeast, stretching from eastern Texas to southern Virginia. These forests represent some of the world’s most biologically diverse ecosystems and are home to nearly 600 plant and animal species, including 29 threatened and endangered species. But over the past two centuries, development, timbering and fire suppression reduced the ecosystem’s range by almost 97 percent.

NRCS works with agricultural producers and conservation partners to restore longleaf forests through the Longleaf Pine Initiative (LLPI), which was launched in 2010. Since 2010, NRCS has helped producers restore more than 870,000 acres on private lands. Together with other conservation efforts, the amount of longleaf pine forests has grown from approximately 3 million acres to nearly 5 million acres during this time, reversing a century-long decline across the region.

How Does LLPI Work?

Through LLPI, NRCS works with producers on private lands in nine states to improve the sustainability of longleaf pine forests. NRCS provides technical and financial assistance to producers, helping them identify and implement a variety of conservation practices. These practices enable landowners to improve these unique forests by establishing new trees and maintaining the ecosystem using prescribed burning or other stand improvement techniques.

LLPI targets efforts in priority counties because of their favorable growing conditions and value in connecting existing stands of longleaf pine. Restoring adjacent stands and creating corridors between stands These targeted areas are usually located in the vicinity of a military installation, a national forest, national wildlife refuge, state forest or heritage reserve.

How Does LLPI Benefit Producers?

LLPI enables producers to make conservation improvements on their forestlands with NRCS providing technical and financial assistance. Sound forest management practices support healthy longleaf pine forests which are more resilient to wildfires, disease, and high wind events.  One management practice that especially benefits longleaf pine ecosystems is restoring the natural fire regimes of the Southeast through prescribed burning.  Historically, low intensity fires burned through longleaf pine forests every few years, maintaining an open canopy and diverse herbaceous understory.

How Does LLPI Benefit the Public?

The benefits of forest management practices range from producing high quality forest products, such as pole logs, to improved wildlife habitat.  Many at-risk wildlife species such as the gopher tortoise, Louisiana pine snake, and red-cockaded woodpecker depend on longleaf pine forests for habitat.  Healthier forests also offer other natural resource benefits, such as diverse recreation opportunities, better upstream forest water use efficiency, carbon storage, and healthier soil.

Partners

NRCS’ longleaf conservation efforts support those of America's Longleaf Restoration Initiative (ALRI), a collaborative effort that actively supports range-wide efforts to restore and conserve longleaf pine ecosystems. ALRI includes NRCS and its partners like the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, The Longleaf Alliance, The Nature Conservancy, U.S. Department of Defense, U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and others. 

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