The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and International Paper have announced grants totaling $2.9 million in support of forest and forestland restoration in three priority regions in the Southeast: the Carolina Low Country; the Cumberland Plateau of Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, and Tennessee; and the Piney Woods of Texas and Louisiana.
Sixteen projects will receive grants through the Forestland Stewards Initiative, a public-private partnership between NFWF and International Paper aimed at conserving and restoring Southern forests that provide critical habitat for endangered wildlife as well as economic opportunities for local communities. The grants, in turn, will leverage nearly $4.7 million in additional funding and in-kind support that ultimately conserves more than 6,850 acres and enhances approximately 68,000 acres of longleaf and shortleaf pine and riparian forest habitat.
Established in March 2013, the initiative has invested more than $10.5 million in projects to date and obtained over $21.5 million in additional funds from grant partners, for a total investment in forestland conservation of more than $32 million.
"The Forestland Stewards Partnership has achieved tremendous success by bringing together business leaders, landowners, public agencies, and conservationists to restore and protect some of the most iconic and biodiverse forests in the United States," said Jay Jensen, director of NFWF's Southern regional office. "The grants announced today support the collective work of dozens of partners working to promote healthier forests at a landscape-scale, which will benefit wildlife and local communities."
(Photo credit: P. McIllhenny)