This project covers approximately 130 acres in the east-central portion of the Ocala National Forest, adjacent to the community of Astor, Florida. The project planted 77,000 longleaf pine seedlings on sites recently devastated by southern pine beetles. The goal is to restore a small part of the southeastern longleaf pine community that once occupied 70 million acres from southeastern Virginia to eastern Texas. Only a portion of the historical longleaf pine forest remains. The project will also benefit the natural environment of both the Ocala National Forest and the community of Astor by providing wildlife habitat, a clean watershed, recreational values, reduced wildfire hazard, and increased community involvement. The wildlife that abounds there includes species that prefer mature longleaf pine forest: birds such as Bachman's sparrows, brown-headed nuthatches, red-cockaded woodpeckers (listed as federally endangered), and bald eagles (listed as federally threatened); mammals such as black bears, bobcats, gray foxes, raccoons, and white-tailed deer; and Herptofauna or creepy crawlers such as indigo snakes (listed as federally threatened), red rat snakes, narrowmouth and oak toads.
This project was supported by our corporate partner, the Alcoa Foundation.
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