Grants conserve, enhance forestland

  • Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) and International Paper (NYSE: IP) has announced $919,000 in grants to support forestland restoration and working forests throughout the North Carolina and South Carolina coastal region.

The Nature Conservancy-North Carolina Chapter, the Longleaf Alliance, the Nature Conservancy-South Carolina Chapter and the South Carolina Wildlife Federation will receive four grants through the Forestland Stewards Initiative, a partnership of NFWF and International Paper.

These four grants will leverage nearly $2 million in additional funds and in-kind support from agency and project partners and will ultimately establish more than 1,600 new acres and enhance nearly 25,000 existing acres of longleaf pine.

Established in March 2013, the Forestland Stewards Initiative is a pioneering partnership created to conserve and restore southern forestlands representing some of America’s most iconic landscapes.

These forests provide critical habitats for endangered wildlife and economic opportunities for local communities.

Through the initiative, International Paper has committed $7.5 million over five years to restore native forests, strengthen important fish and wildlife populations and protect watersheds, while at the same time promoting and supporting working forests in eight states across the southeastern United States.

Since 2013, NFWF and IP have invested more than $3.3 million in projects through the Forestland Stewards Initiative, and these initial investments have been used to leverage more than $6.7 million in additional funds from grant partners, for a total investment of more than $10 million for forestland conservation.

These projects will restore more than 8,000 acres and improve over 98,000 additional acres of native forest and wildlife habitat.

Through this initiative, NFWF and IP anticipate that more than 200,000 acres of forestlands will be restored and improved and over 3,000 private landowners engaged through outreach and technical assistance to implement forest stewardship practices, benefitting numerous species and supporting working forests in three priority regions in the Southeast:

The Carolina Low Country Forests, Cumberland Plateau of Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky and Tennessee and the Piney Woods of Texas and Louisiana.

The Nature Conservancy – South Carolina Chapter and South Carolina Wildlife Federation are advancing the Sewee Longleaf Conservation Cooperative.

Its objective is to expand partner efforts to restore longleaf, educate landowners and implement a cost-share program that encourages landowners to plant and manage longleaf around the Francis Marion National Forest. It was awarded $249,288.

The Sewee Longleaf Conservation Cooperative will restore and enhance longleaf pine habitat on public and private lands in the Francis Marion National Forest Significant Geographic Area.

The Nature Conservancy’s SC Chapter, South Carolina Wildlife Federation and other partners will establish 220 new acres and enhance 8,000 acres of existing longleaf habitat.

The project will continue a cost-share program that encourages landowners to plant and manage longleaf and improve mapping data to strategically prioritize restoration work.

Project partners are the Natural Resources Conservation Service, U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, SC Department of Natural Resources, SC Forestry Commission, Clemson University and Extension, Joseph W. Jones Ecological Research Center, Center for Heirs Property Preservation, forestry contractors and private landowners.

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