Wildlife in Francis Beidler Forest

Wildlife in Francis Beidler Forest. Credit: Diann Payne

Francis Beidler Forest, S.C.

Francis Beidler Forest, S.C. Credit: Duane Burdick

Dorchester County, S.C.

Key Activities:

  • Planting 22,800 longleaf pine across 57 acres
  • Restoring a native ecosystem to improve wildlife habitat

Project Description:
Working with Audubon South Carolina, Alcoa Foundation and American Forests are planting 22,800 longleaf pine across 57 acres of South Carolina’s Francis Beidler Forest to restore wildlife habitat.

Why This Project:
Building upon the work completed as part of our 2012 Partnership for Trees Program, which restored 65 Carolina acres with 26,000 longleaf pine, this project is planting additional longleaf pine in an adjacent area of Francis Beidler Forest.

Four hundred years ago, much of the South was covered in longleaf pine ecosystems; over the years, however, longleaf pine has dwindled. This phenomenon has resulted in habitat loss for many species, including Bachman’s sparrow, that rely on the pine for survival. This project is bringing longleaf pine back to its native habitat to recreate necessary homes for many species of wildlife.

Why Longleaf Pine:
Nearly 600 species are found in longleaf pine ecosystems, with half of them considered to be rare and more than 100 considered to be at-risk. Longleaf pine can grow in sandy, dry and infertile soil or along steep slopes, making them essential for erosion control, as they often grow where other trees cannot. Longleaf pine is also long-lived and durable, as it is a species that can survive minor to moderate wildfire. In fact, it needs wildfire to survive because wildfire clears debris from the forest floor, allowing the longleaf’s seeds to reach the soil and germinate. As a result, wildfire suppression policies in the 20th century helped lead to longleaf’s decline since longleaf has trouble competing with understory plants and debris.

Interested in the other South Carolina reforestation projects in which we’ve been involved? Check out our South Carolina Global ReLeaf projects.