A Missouri project that supports jobs, water resources, and wildlife has received a welcome boost.
The Forest Service announced that the Pine-Oak Woodlands Collaborative Landscape Restoration Project will be receiving a $617,000 investment from the federal Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Program (CFLRP) in 2012. This program was created in 2009 to restore forests and support local communities through collaborative partnerships on National Forest lands.
The Pine-Oak Woodlands Project will use thinning and prescribed fire to make the woodlands more resilient to wildfire, drought, insects, and climate change, maintaining the area’s value for people, water, and wildlife.
Over the next ten years the Pine-Oak Woodlands Collaborative Landscape Restoration Project is projected to support 600 jobs in the southeast Missouri Ozarks, with a labor value that is expected to exceed $26 million. Approximately $9.3 million in sawtimber and $1.7 million in biomass will be produced. An estimated savings of over $18 million in wildlife management costs is possible.
Ultimately, the hope is to reintroduce bird species that were originally native to area pineries, including the brown-headed nuthatch and the red-cockaded woodpecker.
Missouri once boasted more than 4 million acres of shortleaf pine woodlands. In the late 1800s, however, the woodlands were harvested to meet the demand for lumber used to build houses in the rapidly expanding West. In less than 25 years, virtually all of Missouri’s pine forests had disappeared.
The Pine-Oak Woodlands project is another step forward in Missouri forest conservation. In 2003, The Nature Conservancy and the U.S. Forest Service partnered to restore the state’s nearly lost forestry resources through the Pineknot project. The project restores native pineries with prescribed fires and the harvest of hardwood to create more open woodland. The resulting healthier woodlands allow a greater diversity of native plants and animals to thrive, and will lead to faster-growing, higher-quality trees. The Pineknot project will create productive forests with high conservation value.
In its first year CFLRP invested $10 million at 10 National Forest sites across the country. That initial investment supported 1,550 jobs, spurred $59 million in labor income, produced 107 million board feet of timber, and reduced the risk of costly forest fires on 150,000 acres. With this kind of success, it is no surprise that President Obama recently proposed CFLRP be funded at its full national $40 million level in his 2013 budget.
The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people. The Conservancy and its more than 1 million members have protected nearly 120 million acres worldwide. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the Web at www.nature.org.
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