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Alabama Forestry Commission and Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division Partner to Restore Longleaf Pine Habitat

December 30, 2009

The Alabama Forestry Commission (AFC), in partnership with the Alabama Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries (WFF), is restoring longleaf pine through the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act. The award amount of $360,350 will be used to restore longleaf pine on Barbour County Wildlife Management Area and private lands. 
 
Restoration of longleaf pine on private lands is being administered through the WFF Landowner Incentive Program (LIP). Projects were selected to assist private landowners with the cost of containerized longleaf pine seedlings. Under this grant, restoration activities will cover seven counties and with over 370,000 longleaf pine seedlings planted on approximately 800 acres. 
 
“With over 90 percent of the land in Alabama being under private ownership, landowners are critical to the success in the restoration of the longleaf pine ecosystem,” said Traci George, WFF LIP Coordinator.  “This partnership with the AFC allows an opportunity to strengthen program services to forest landowners and restore longleaf pine.”
 
The Barbour County Management Area is comprised of 19,624 acres in parts of Barbour and Bullock counties. The total project restoration area includes approximately 2,500 acres that will be restored to a longleaf pine forest. The first phase of this project consists of an approximately 500-acre block that can be observed from the boundary formed by North Road and John Road. Restoration practices funded by this grant include site preparation spraying, prescribed burning, herbaceous weed control, purchase of longleaf seedling and planting. 
 
The longleaf pine ecosystem once covered almost 90 million acres in North America. Due to a number of factors, such as land clearing and fire suppression, the longleaf pine habitat has been reduced to about 3 million acres. 
 
Restoration projects such as the AFC-WFF effort are a proactive and beneficial step in ensuring a healthy ecosystem and wildlife populations. A number of species of concern, such as the gopher tortoise, eastern indigo snake, black pine snake, and red-cockaded woodpecker all thrive in fire-maintained longleaf pine habitat. Other associated species that benefit from this ecosystem are the bobwhite quail, whitetail deer, eastern turkey and the Bachman’s sparrow.
 
The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources promotes wise stewardship, management and enjoyment of Alabama’s natural resources through five divisions: Marine Police, Marine Resources, State Lands, State Parks, and Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries. To learn more about ADCNR, visit www.outdooralabama.com .
 
 
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