Land & Resources Management

Longleaf Restoration Initiative

Longleaf forests are hardier than other varieties of pines.

THE ISSUE

The National Forests and Grasslands in Texas and Texas Forest Service have joined together to initiate a multiple stakeholder Texas Longleaf Restoration Task Force.

BACKGROUND

Though reduced from a once vast extent due to clearing for agriculture and development or conversion to plantations of other pines, longleaf forests still offer extraordinary benefits. More resistant to hurricanes and some pests than other pines, these forests provide highly valuable timber and habitat for bobwhite quail and wild turkey along with impressive biodiversity.

KEY POINTS

  • In 1886, Texas had nearly 2.9 million acres of longleaf pine. By 1995, only 45,000 acres remained representing 1.5% of its original amount.
  • Federal and state agencies share common goals of wanting to see longleaf ecosystem restoration on private forests lands adjacent to federal lands and to better position Texas for program funding sources that provide assistance to rural landowners.
  • The Texas Longleaf Restoration Task Force can serve to support the larger, range-wide America’s Longleaf Restoration Initiative, whose purpose is to increase longleaf pine acreage from 3.4 to 8.0 million acres in the next 15 years.
  • Currently there are 25,133 acres in the National Forests of Texas identified as longleaf. There is an estimated 250,000 acres of potential longleaf habitat.
  • The restoration projects include removing off-site species, planting longleaf, as well as open and regenerate existing stands.
  • Longleaf pines live longer than other southern pine species; are less susceptible to fire, pests and storms; and produce wood more likely to be used in long-lasting structures.
  • “Significant Geographic Areas” (SGAs) have been identified to spatially target longleaf restoration. In Texas, there are two SGAs on public lands: Sabine/Angelina National Forests, and Big Thicket National Preserve.
  • Threatened ecosystems like longleaf pines – the haven for endangered red-cockaded woodpeckers – are dependent on fire.
  • Congress appropriated $10 million in FY 2010 for the Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Program to pay up to 50 percent of the implementation and monitoring costs of ecological restoration treatments on National Forest System lands.
  • This initiative fits well within a MOU between TFS and National Forests & Grasslands in Texas, the national MOU between NASF, NRCS, and USFS, a pending MOU between TFS and NRCS-TX, and the priorities identified in TFS’s Statewide Resources Assessment & Strategy.
  • Other partners include Institute of Renewable Natural Resources, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, National Park Service, Natural Resource Conservation Service, Texas Parks & Wildlife Department, The Nature Conservancy, The Conservation Fund, Texas A&M Extension, SFA Arthur Temple College of Forestry and Agriculture and The Campbell Group.




https://www.fs.usda.gov/detailfull/texas/landmanagement/?cid=stelprdb5318738&width=full