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USDA announces initiative to improve longleaf forests in United States; Central Louisiana

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United States Department of Agriculture –

Natural Resources Conservation Service

3737 Government Street, Alexandria, Louisiana  71302

www.la.nrcs.usda.gov

For Immediate Release                                                                                                  

Release No.:  00013.10

Contact:  Holly L. Martien, (318) 473-7762

holly.martien@la.usda.gov

 

Alexandria, LA, July 9, 2010 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) today unveiled an initiative to improve the health of longleaf pine forests in nine southeast states, including Louisiana.   Using an integrated landscape approach, this initiative will help to restore the dramatic acres of longleaf pine forest ecosystems that have been lost on private lands and will also improve plant and animal habitat.  Within Louisiana, approximately 7 million acres of longleaf pine ecosystem once existed.  Today, less than 250,000 acres remain, with the majority of that being on National Forest. 

 

 “This collaborative, all-lands approach to conservation will result in cleaner water, improved essential habitat for sensitive species, and an economic resource for the future, State Conservationist  Kevin Norton said. “Protecting and restoring this important ecosystem will benefit communities and resources across the nation.”

 

Longleaf pine forests in the southeastern United States initially occurred on 90 million acres at the beginning of European settlement.  About 3.5 million acres remain today, providing critical habitat for 29 threatened or endangered species.  With the Longleaf Pine Restoration Initiative, NRCS will collaborate with other federal agencies as well as state, local and nongovernmental conservation partners to address conservation needs across the longleaf pine range.  “This initiative will provide a good opportunity for forest landowners who wish to add longleaf pine to their forest land holdings,” said Buck Vandersteen, Executive Director of the Louisiana Forestry Association.

The initiative is funded through NRCS’s Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program. Participants agree to carry out a wildlife habitat development plan and NRCS provides cost-share assistance to voluntarily implement conservation practices that maintain, improve or restore longleaf pine ecosystems. 

“Longleaf forests are a true forest with so many important values that benefit mankind.  This initiative presents landowners with a golden opportunity to improve such a unique and diverse ecosystem that is on a drastic decline,” said Louisiana landowner and conservationist, David Daigle.  “Through this initiative, landowners can improve the health of our plant community and wildlife habitat.”

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Written by demon53

July 25, 2010 at 2:22 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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