Longleaf Pine Restoration Project
The Mountain Longleaf Local Implementation Team which includes representatives from 6 different agencies including numerous public and private businesses met today to see the product of their grant funding for restoration of the longleaf pine ecosystem on and around the Talladega National Forest. The team is one of 17 partnerships located across the historical longleaf pine range working to restore this endangered ecosystem. The ecosystem’s survival depends on frequent, low-intensity, fires. Alabama Nature Conservancy Mountain Longleaf Conservation Coordinator Alex Varner says historically, fire kept the forest open and healthy. He says the forest has had seventy to eighty years of fire suppression and it changed the forest’s dynamic. Since 2014, Alabama Power Company and its parent company Southern Company along with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and with the USDA’s Forest Service and Natural Resources Conservation Service, have supported the work of the Mountain Longleaf Local Implementation Team with three grants totaling $580-thousand through the Longleaf Stewardship Fund. Alabama Power Company Environmental Affairs Supervisor Jason Carlee says they have a standing commitment to environmental stewardship. In total, these grants will support the planting of 960 acres of new longleaf pine and the management of an additional 57,000 acres of existing longleaf habitat, primarily through the use of prescribed fire.