A multi-year partnership between the NWTF and the Tennessee Division of Forestry is helping to replenish wildlife habitat. An annual $5,000 NWTF grant to the Tennessee Division of Forestry’s native tree nursery allowed the agency to grow 274,000 shortleaf pine seedlings in 2018 alone.
“Helping the Tennessee Division of Forestry grow shortleaf pine seedlings that are then sold to be planted on the ground across Tennessee really just gets at our mission of habitat restoration for shortleaf pine,” said Chris Coxen, NWTF district biologist.
The shortleaf pine is native to a large area that spans from the Mississippi River to the Piedmont region in the eastern U.S. However, Coxen said that the shortleaf pine’s range has been “dramatically reduced” from what it historically was. The last 30 years have seen a significant diminishing of shortleaf pine ecosystems, most notably to the east of the Mississippi River.
While this project’s benefits to wildlife are complex, they are nonetheless important.
“Shortleaf pine alone doesn’t offer a ton of wildlife value,” Coxen said. “It’s really the system that shortleaf pine is a part of. It’s that whole ecosystem that is great for turkey, deer and a whole number of wildlife species.”
— Heiler Meek