Impacting acres in the Florida panhandle

America’s Big Six Focal Region: Southern Piney Woods

Focal Landscape: Southern Flatwoods

Location: Florida Panhandle

Cost estimate of completed project: $1.3 million; NWTF contribution: $326,000 (numbers pertain to overall cost of Longleaf Pine Initiative Agreement with USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service across multiple southeastern states, not just Florida)

Overview: A multiyear initiative that includes planting longleaf pine seedlings, conducting controlled burns and regulating noxious invasive species. Impact includes 1,800 acres conserved or enhanced, with 29,000 acres positively influenced in the Florida panhandle.

Description of work:

  • Restore landscape with historic native species, such as longleaf pine
  • Treat noxious invasive plants such as Chinese tallow, privet and cogongrass
  • Use prescribed fire to reduce hardwood encroachment and promote diverse growth of native grasses and forbs
  • Use thinning and brush management to open up the forest canopy, allowing sunlight to hit the ground to increase growth of grasses and forbs beneficial to wildlife and pollinators
  • Educate private landowners on wildlife habitat management through workshops, field days and site visits

Partners: NRCS; private landowners

Species targeted: wild turkey, white-tailed deer, bobwhite quail, gopher tortoise and red-cockaded woodpecker

Article Category
Article State
Florida