On February 26, The Nature Conservancy was joined by volunteers from Alabama Power's Barry Steam Plant in Mobile Co. in an effort to restore longleaf pine forests. Nearly 1,500 longleaf pine seedlings were planted on a portion of newly acquired acreage at the Conservancy’s Splinter Hill Bog Preserve located in South Alabama.
Located in the headwaters of the Perdido River along Dyas Creek, the Splinter Hill Bog Preserve and the surrounding landscape is forested by longleaf pine savanna/seepage bog communities with interspersed sandhill habitats. Much of the site is occupied by some of the largest and most visually impressive white-topped pitcher plant bogs found globally.
Alabama Power has been a longtime supporter of the Conservancy’s work to restore the longleaf pine ecosystem. Through a partnership with the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation and Southern Company, Alabama Power’s parent company, the Longleaf Stewardship Fund was awarded to the Conservancy for longleaf pine restoration and management across the Southern Company operating area. “Our volunteers enjoyed partnering with The Nature Conservancy in planting these trees,” said David Griffin, Plant Barry Compliance specialist. “It’s gratifying to know that future generations will be able to enjoy these longleaf pines.”
The ecologically significant longleaf pine habitat once stretched across the South from Virginia to Texas, covering up to 90 million acres of the southern coastal plain and harboring hundreds of rare and endangered species. Longleaf pine forests benefit humans as well as wildlife by supporting freshwater, providing natural resilience to catastrophic storms, and helping sustain the regional economy.
“Today only about 4 percent of that forest remains,” according to Brent Shaver, conservation forestry project director for The Nature Conservancy in Alabama. “Approximately 1/3 of Alabama once contained longleaf pine forests; partnerships with private organizations like Alabama Power are critical to the restoration and management of this important ecosystem,” he added.
The Conservancy has initiated a massive project, working across nine states in partnership with many agencies and organizations, to protect, restore and expand the longleaf forests. The Conservancy’s goal is to grow the ecosystem to eight million acres by 2024. This will require land protection, thoughtful land-use planning, and state-of-the-art stewardship by private landowners and public land managers.
In 2012, the Alabama chapter planted 501 acres of longleaf pine (201,903 seedlings) at Perdido River Wildlife Management Area; 50 acres of longleaf pine at our Roberta Case Pine Hills Preserve (15,125 seedlings) in Autauga County and five acres at Splinter Hill Bog Preserve (1,250 seedlings) in Baldwin County.
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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