Grants Support Restoration of Southern Forests, Protection of Critical Habitats, Enhancement of Local Economies in Second Year of Landmark Public-Private Partnership
Charleston, SC - August 18 — The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) and International Paper (NYSE: IP) today announced $919,000 in grants to support forestland restoration and working forests throughout the North Carolina and South Carolina coastal region. The Nature Conservancy-North Carolina Chapter, the Longleaf Alliance, the Nature Conservancy-South Carolina Chapter and the South Carolina Wildlife Federation will receive four grants through the Forestland Stewards Initiative, a partnership of NFWF and International Paper. These four grants will leverage nearly $2 million in additional funds and in-kind support from agency and project partners and will ultimately establish more than 1,600 new acres and enhance nearly 25,000 existing acres of longleaf pine.
Established in March 2013, the Forestland Stewards Initiative is a pioneering partnership created to conserve and restore southern forestlands representing some of America’s most iconic landscapes. These forests provide critical habitats for endangered wildlife and economic opportunities for local communities. Through the initiative, International Paper has committed $7.5 million over five years to restore native forests, strengthen important fish and wildlife populations and protect watersheds, while at the same time promoting and supporting working forests in eight states across the southeastern United States.
“As we enter our second year of this partnership, the great progress we’ve made underscores International Paper’s commitment to protect and restore forest landscapes for generations to come,” said John Faraci, chairman and CEO of International Paper. “It is a winning scenario that conserves and restores some of nature’s most amazing treasures, provides economic value for landowners and communities, and ensures a sustainable supply of wood to make products that people rely on every day.”
“With this second round of grants through our partnership with International Paper, we are advancing conservation in some of the most biologically diverse and culturally iconic landscapes in America,” said David O’Neill, vice president for NFWF’s Conservation Programs. “These grants will lead to on-the-ground improvements that benefit fish and wildlife and strengthen local economies by keeping working forests working.”
“Although stands of longleaf pine have declined in coastal South Carolina over the last hundred years, it remains a very important source of timber for our state,” said Robert Abernethy, president of The Longleaf Alliance. “The funding we received today allows us to create a partnership that will educate private landowners about the benefits and proper methods of growing and managing longleaf pine. Restoration and management of this species in the South Carolina Low Country ultimately depends on private landowners to plant longleaf for sustainable use with the intention of generating income.”
Since 2013, NFWF and IP have invested more than $3.3 million in projects through the Forestland Stewards Initiative, and these initial investments have been used to leverage more than $6.7 million in additional funds from grant partners, for a total investment of more than $10 million for forestland conservation. These projects will restore more than 8,000 acres and improve over 98,000 additional acres of native forest and wildlife habitat. Through this initiative, NFWF and IP anticipate that more than 200,000 acres of forestlands will be restored and improved and over 3,000 private landowners engaged through outreach and technical assistance to implement forest stewardship practices, benefitting numerous species and supporting working forests in three priority regions in the Southeast: The Carolina Low Country Forests, Cumberland Plateau of Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky and Tennessee and the Piney Woods of Texas and Louisiana.
About the Grants:
Partner Organization: The Nature Conservancy-North Carolina Chapter
Title: Onslow Bight Longleaf Pine Ecosystem Restoration Project
Objective: Enhance the longleaf ecosystem on existing conservation and private lands within the Onslow Bight landscape.
Award Amount: $300,000
Project Description: The Onslow Bight Conservation Forum will expand longleaf pine restoration efforts and increase prescribed fire capacity on public and private lands within the Onslow Bight Conservation Area. The Nature Conservancy's North Carolina Chapter – in partnership with the NC Forest Service, NC Wildlife Resources Commission, NC Division of Parks and Recreation, the National Wild Turkey Federation and private landowners – will establish 150 new acres, and enhance 10,000 additional acres of existing longleaf pine through prescribed burning and mid-story hardwood removal. These activities also will support the goals of Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune and Marine Corps Air Stations Cherry Point to advance red-cockaded woodpecker (RCW) habitat restoration and connect RCW subpopulations.
Project Partners: North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, North Carolina Division of Parks and Recreation, National Wild Turkey Federation, North Carolina Forest Service, Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, Croatan National Forest, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, and The NC Longleaf Coalition
Partner Organization: The Nature Conservancy – South Carolina Chapter and SC Wildlife Federation
Title: Advancing the Sewee Longleaf Conservation Cooperative
Objective: Expand partner efforts to restore longleaf, educate landowners and implement a cost-share program that encourages landowners to plant and manage longleaf around the Francis Marion National Forest.
Award Amount: $249,288
Project Description: The Sewee Longleaf Conservation Cooperative will restore and enhance longleaf pine habitat on public and private lands in the Francis Marion National Forest Significant Geographic Area.
The Nature Conservancy’s SC Chapter, South Carolina Wildlife Federation and other partners will establish 220 new acres and enhance 8,000 acres of existing longleaf habitat. The project will continue a cost-share program that encourages landowners to plant and manage longleaf and improve mapping data to strategically prioritize restoration work.
Project Partners: Natural Resources Conservation Service, U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, SC Department of Natural Resources, SC Forestry Commission, Clemson University and Extension, Joseph W. Jones Ecological Research Center, Center for Heirs Property Preservation, forestry contractors and private landowners
Partner Organization: The Longleaf Alliance
Title: SoLo-ACE Longleaf Partnership Longleaf Ecosystem Restoration
Objective: The SoLo-ACE Longleaf Partnership will educate private landowners through workshops and academies and assist longleaf planting and management.
Award Amount: $280,000
Project Description: The SoLo-ACE Longleaf Partnership will work with private landowners to plant 1,000 acres of longleaf, burn 2,500 acres of existing longleaf habitat, treat 625 acres of mid-story hardwoods, and conduct an inventory of 10,000 miles of road for Cogongrass eradication treatments. The Longleaf Alliance and partners will provide technical and financial assistance to private landowners – with a particular focus on underserved landowner populations – consisting of landowner academies and workshops, a 50% cost share incentive to purchase prescribed fire equipment, and a series of instructional videos on proper longleaf pine planting and management techniques.
Project Partners: Natural Resources Conservation Service, U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, SC Department of Natural Resources, SC Forestry Commission, Clemson University and Extension, National Wild Turkey Federation, Open Land Trust, Beaufort County, Hitchcock Woods Foundation, Nemours Wildlife Foundation, The Nature Conservancy, Ducks Unlimited, ACE Basin Task Force, South Lowcountry Task Force and private landowners
Partner Organization: The Longleaf Alliance
Title: Milliken Longleaf Pine Forest Habitat Restoration
Objective: Enhance the longleaf ecosystem on private lands within the Mid-and Atlantic Coastal Plain Ecoregions of South Carolina.
Award Amount: $90,000
Project Description: The Longleaf Alliance will engage private landowners in longleaf pine habitat restoration on 16 privately-owned properties in the Mid- and Atlantic Coastal Plain Ecoregions of South Carolina. The project will restore over 240 acres of longleaf, treat more than 200 acres of mid-story hardwoods and conduct prescribed burns on over 3,400 acres, which will support red-cockaded woodpecker habitat. Participating properties will serve as demonstration sites to educate other private landowners on restoring and managing longleaf pine.
Project Partners: Milliken Forestry Company, Inc. and private landowners
Learn more about Forestland Stewards at: www.nfwf.org/forestlandstewards.
About the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation:
Chartered by Congress in 1984, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) protects and restores the nation's fish, wildlife and habitats. Working with federal agencies, corporations, foundations and individual partners, NFWF has funded more than 4,000 organizations and committed more than $2.3 billion to conservation projects. Learn more at www.nfwf.org
About International Paper:
International Paper (NYSE: IP) is a global leader in packaging and paper with manufacturing operations in North America, Europe, Latin America, Russia, Asia and North Africa. Its businesses include industrial and consumer packaging and uncoated papers. Headquartered in Memphis, Tenn., the company employs approximately 65,000 people and is strategically located in more than 24 countries serving customers worldwide. International Paper net sales for 2013 were $29 billion. For more information about International Paper, its products and stewardship efforts, visit internationalpaper.com.