Cape Fear Longleaf Pine Gets Big Boost

The Cape Fear Arch Conservation Collaboration today announced that it had received a $350,000 grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s (NFWF) Longleaf Stewardship Fund.

Wilmington, NC | October 31, 2013

The Cape Fear Arch Conservation Collaboration today announced that it had received a $350,000 grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s (NFWF) Longleaf Stewardship Fund. International Paper also contributed significantly to the grant, which will be administered by The Nature Conservancy. The funds will be used to improve and restore longleaf pine across the southeast coastal plain. 

“This is a big boost for our efforts to improve longleaf forest,” said Dan Ryan, the Conservancy’s Longleaf Project Director and a member of the Cape Fear Arch’s executive committee. “We’ll be working on public and private land. Much of the work will involve putting fire on the ground, because longleaf forest and the species that live in longleaf pine forest need fire to thrive.” 

The grant covers:

  • Burning 5,200 acres of longleaf forest
  • Planting 1,200 acres of longleaf seedlings
  • Restoring 1,900 acres of wiregrass, a fire-dependent grass found in longleaf forests
  • Removing shrubs and other unwanted vegetation from 1,000 acres

“Controlled burning is very effective in restoring longleaf forest, but this is a tough place to burn,” explains Ryan. “Much of the area has peat soils, so you have to be careful not to burn the soil. You have significant areas where forest and developed areas are close together, so you have to be careful there. Burning in those areas also helps to make communities safer, because it removes fuel that could drive wildfires and threaten people and property.” 

Longleaf pine trees are fire-resistant; burning removes competing plants that shade and prevent young longleaf from growing. Wiregrass needs fire to produce healthy seed. The forests are also home to a number of plants – including native orchids and Venus flytraps – that flourish when shrubs are removed. 

The grant-funded work will take place over a two-year period. In addition to The Nature Conservancy, other project partners include:

  • North Carolina Forest Service
  • North Carolina Division of Parks and Recreation
  • North Carolina Plant Conservation Program
  • North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission
  • Orton Plantation
  • Private landowners 

Chartered by Congress in 1984, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation sustains, restores and enhances the nation's fish, wildlife, plants and habitats. Working with federal, corporate and individual partners, NFWF has funded more than 4,000 organizations and committed more than $2.1 billion to conservation projects. Learn more at

The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to conserve the lands and waters on which all life depends. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the web at To learn about the Conservancy’s global initiatives, visit To keep up with current Conservancy news, follow @nature_press on Twitter.

Contact information

Debbie Crane
Communications & Marketing
American Tobacco Campus
334 Blackwell Street, Suite 300
Durham, NC 27701
(919) 794-4373


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