Range-wide Conservation Plan for Longleaf Pine Released

Longleaf pine (Pinus palustris) forests once dominated the landscape of the Southeastern United States. From the Atlantic coastal plain of southeastern Virginia to the West Gulf Coastal Plain of Texas, these forests encompassed over 90 million acres and represented an extraordinary wealth and diversity of cultural, ecological, and socio-economic values.

When America’s Longleaf Restoration Initiative (America’s Longleaf) was first formed, the extent of longleaf pine forests had been greatly reduced with an estimated 3.4 million acres remaining. Through the collaborative restoration and conservation efforts of partners involved in America’s Longleaf, that downward trend has been reversed and the current data indicate that the acreage of longleaf pine has increased to approximately 5.2 million acres. This progress is encouraging, but there is still much work to be done to achieve the restoration goals outlined in this Conservation Plan.

America’s Longleaf now serves as a model for other collaborative landscape-level initiatives, but it began as a broad group of individuals and agencies with a shared concern for the decline of the longleaf pine ecosystem. With the formation of the Longleaf Partnership Council in 2011 and the subsequent development of Local Implementation Teams, America’s Longleaf developed a system for merging these separate entities into a collaborative framework that has allowed for more efficient use of resources, skills, and relationships to further longleaf restoration goals.
The vision of America’s Longleaf is to have functional, viable longleaf pine ecosystems with the full spectrum of ecological, economic, and social values inspired through a voluntary partnership of concerned, motivated organizations and individuals.

This Conservation Plan was developed by a Writing Team assigned by the Longleaf Partnership Council Leadership Team using the original 2009 Range-wide Conservation Plan for Longleaf Pine as a foundation.

This second iteration of the Conservation Plan guides the continued efforts to reach the goal of eight million acres of longleaf pine forest in the Southeast. Read the full report here.

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