Planting Location: South Alabama-Baldwin, Barbour, Bullock, Butler, Choctaw, Clarke, Coffee, Conecuh, Covington, Crenshaw, Dale, Elmore, Escambia, Geneva, Henry, Houston, Lee, Macon, Marengo, Mobile, Monroe, Pike, Russell, and Washington counties as well as portions of Chambers, Montgomery, and Tallapoosa counties.
Project Description/Objective: Engage family forest owners in a 27-county area of south Alabama by providing education and technical assistance to restore and enhance longleaf forests and improve habitat for at-risk species. The project will target 8,000 landowners through a marketing campaign and engage 800 through outreach events with 80 landowners expected to take action, impacting a total of 24,628 acres and improving habitat for gopher tortoises and other fire-dependent at-risk species found in longleaf forests.
This project area includes private lands located in a 27-county area of south Alabama. This area encompasses two priority landscapes as designated by the American Forest Foundation through a survey and spatial analysis. Criteria used to determine priority include presence of a high proportion of family forest owners, substantial wildlife resources, active wood products industry and projected growth in demand for wood supplies.
Ecological Benefits: The project area includes habitat for 36 threatened or endangered species including 7 associated with longleaf forests. With over 60% of the forests in Alabama owned by family forest owners, any strategy designed to improve habitat for these species must include private landowners. A recent survey shows 74% of landowners in south
Alabama have expressed an interest in improving wildlife habitat but they acknowledge that uncertainty of what to do and lack of financial resources are the biggest barriers.
Project staff will also work with landowners where gopher tortoises are present to conduct surveys and enhance conservation efforts.
Community Benefits: Project Partners have evaluated three demographic factors in the project area:
1. Poverty Rates: Alabama has a statewide poverty rate of 14.2%. All counties in the 27-county project area have rural areas with most being completely rural. Poverty rates in the project area range from 8.4% (Baldwin) to 26.2% (Macon). Twenty-three of the twenty-seven project area counties exceed the statewide rate.
2. Minority Populations: Statewide, the largest minority population is black/African Americans who make up 25.8% of the state’s population. The minority population percentage ranges from 8.2% (Baldwin) to 83.9% (Macon). Sixteen counties in the project area exceed the state average.
3. Unemployment Rates: The statewide unemployment rate is currently 3.1%. Unemployment rates in project area counties range from 2.2% (Russell) to 5.2% (Clarke and Macon). Twelve counties in the project area have unemployment rates that exceed the state average.
Where possible, Project Coordinators will track demographic information from outreach and engagement activities as well as those landowners in the “Historically Underserved Farmers and Ranchers” category.
Types of Trees: Pines
Number of Trees Donated by Noble Oak: 10,000