Longleaf Pine Restoration Project
Dorchester County, South Carolina
- Planting 26,000 longleaf pines across 65 acres
- Restoring wildlife habitat and a native ecosystem
- Creating recreation opportunities
Alcoa Foundation, American Forests and Audubon South Carolina are partnering to restore forest areas of South Carolina with 26,000 longleaf pines to improve wildlife habitat in the region.
Why This Project:
Longleaf pine was once a dominant species in the Southeast, but forestry practices and logging have left much of South Carolina with a monoculture pine forest of loblolly. Loblolly is not as conducive, though, to wildlife habitat as longleaf. By planting longleaf pine, this project is restoring wildlife habitat for a variety of species, including white-tailed deer, wild turkey, fox squirrel, bobwhite quail, rattlesnakes and uncommon birds like Bachman’s sparrow and brown-headed nuthatch.
In addition, a long-term plan for the site is as a hiking and recreation area for visitors wanting to enjoy a longleaf savannah ecosystem.
Why Bachman’s Sparrow and Wild Turkey:
Bachman’s sparrow is native to the Southeast, making its home in open pine forests. Over the last century, though, its numbers are estimated to have declined by a few percentage points each year. While not officially threatened or endangered yet, this decline is concerning and is largely attributed to habitat loss.
Native to North America, by the early 1900s, wild turkey was a severely threatened species. Between forest habitat loss and hunting, the turkey’s numbers had dwindled to an estimated 30,000. For the last century, conservationists and others have toiled to save this once ubiquitous bird. Now, the wild turkey population is estimated to be a healthy seven million, but continuing to restore its habitat is still vital to ensuring that this iconic bird’s numbers don’t dwindle again.
Interested in the other South Carolina reforestation projects we’ve been involved in? Check out our South Carolina Global ReLeaf projects.