Seven projects supporting the important longleaf pine ecosystem in Alabama will benefit from new grants provided by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF).
The grants will provide support to several nonprofits working in Alabama to improve existing longleaf pine forests and create longleaf habitat in the state.
Alabama Power and its parent company, Southern Company, are among the organizations helping support longleaf pine habitat restoration through NFWF’s Longleaf Landscape Stewardship Fund.
In all, 21 grants were awarded through the fund to advance longleaf pine habitat restoration across its historic range, which covers portions of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia. Together, the grants are expected to establish more than 15,000 new acres of longleaf pine and enhance an additional 400,000 acres of habitat through prescribed burning, invasive species removal and other forest management practices.
“Now in its 10th year of grant-making, the Longleaf Landscape Stewardship Fund continues to expand and improve the longleaf pine ecosystem, benefiting numerous at-risk species, such as the red-cockaded woodpecker and gopher tortoise,” said Jeff Trandahl, executive director and CEO of NFWF. “This longstanding public-private partnership has enabled us to engage more project partners, reach more landowners and support landscape-scale projects that will improve and maintain the iconic longleaf pine ecosystem.”
In Alabama, the grants will provide support to several nonprofit organizations working to expand and improve longleaf pine ecosystems in the state, including the Alabama Wildlife Federation, The Nature Conservancy, Gulf Coastal Plain Ecosystem Partnership and the Chattahoochee Fall Line Conservation Partnership. The bulk of the projects involve working with private landowners to enhance longleaf habitat through selective burning, thinning and removal of invasive plants, as well as encouraging landowners to plant more longleaf pines. Providing education, outreach efforts and technical assistance to landowners, contractors and forestry professionals is also part of the plan.
“This is an outstanding partnership that is making a real difference in helping us preserve and expand the longleaf pine ecosystem in our state,” said Jason Carlee, an Environmental Affairs supervisor with Alabama Power.
Longleaf pines once blanketed much of the Southeast, but now exist on a fraction of the historic range after more than a century of logging and development. The longleaf pine habitat is critically important to a wide variety of plants and animals, including at-risk species, such as the northern bobwhite.
Alabama Power has been involved for more than 20 years in cooperative efforts to protect and enhance the longleaf pine ecosystem in the state, including managing company lands that contain longleaf pine forests.
“We’re excited to continue to support and collaborate with our Alabama partners and with NFWF to help bring back this important habitat,” Carlee said.
To learn more about Alabama Power’s efforts to protect and enhance the state’s natural resources, visit www.alabamapower.com and search “environmental stewardship.”