Planting Location: The project will take place within the historic range of longleaf in Southern Mississippi.
Project Description/Objective: Restore longleaf pine on private lands through plantings, prescribed fire and other managmeent treatments within priority areas in Mississippi, benefitting gopher tortoise, northern bobwhite and Bachman's sparrow. Project will help address long-term prescribed fire capacity issues as well as provide financial asssistance to landowners and contractors offset some of the costs associated with managing fire-maintained habitats, resulting in improved management longleaf pine forests.
This proposal will establish 320 acres of longleaf pine, and educate landowners with outreach programs. It also will expand the existing Fire on the Forty Program by improving fire culture while increasing prescribed fire on the landscape. Proposed outcomes of these projects will significantly contribute to America’s Longleaf goals by increasing, maintaining, and enhancing longleaf pine in MS.
Ecological Benefits: Partners will organize gopher tortoise surveys in key conservation areas to assess progress. Partial match may include management activities on a priority gopher tortoise conservation site in Southeast MS. Prior management of this site has shown a significant increase in gopher tortoise recruitment; some of the highest reported in MS.
Since MS is host to the threatened gopher tortoise, black pinesnake, and other priority wildlife and plant species dependent on fire-maintained ecosystems, a primary objective for South MS is to improve prescribed burning capacity and long-term prescribed fire sustainability. South MS contains more than 3 million acres of pine forests.
Additionally, in cooperation with the respective species recovery leads, the USFWS Mississippi Migratory Bird and Ecological Field Office will continue to promote and look for opportunities to coordinate and facilitate research and monitoring projects targeted at furthering our understanding of species-habitat relationships and their response to management activities.
Community Benefits:Mississippi contains one of the highest poverty rates in the United States with nearly 20% of MS residents falling within the poverty range (U.S. Census Bureau). We also report having one of the lowest safety scores in the nation. Conservation projects and outdoor recreation opportunities could markedly support America the Beautiful environmental equity and inclusion principles throughout the state.
Types of Trees:Longleaf Pines
Number of Trees Donated by Noble Oak: 10,000