COLLEGE STATION, Texas (KETK) – Private landowners interested in restoring or enhancing longleaf pine ecosystems on their property have until April 15 to apply for grants.
The Texas A&M Forest Service and the Texas Longleaf Pine Implementation Team announced this new opportunity for landowners to “restore this iconic and important American landscape.”
Landowners with property within the following East Texas counties are eligible to apply:
- San Augustine
- San Jacinto
Approved participants may receive reimbursement based on a standard rate for implementing certain conservation practices. Approved conservation practices include prescribed burning, site preparation, reforestation and forest stand improvement.
Landowners interested in planting or restoring longleaf pine on their property can apply for financial assistance using the form linked below.
Texas A&M Forest Service is also accepting applications from landowners looking to enhance already established stands of longleaf pine.
“The forest sector contributes $41 billion to the Texas economy annually,” said Hughes Simpson, Forest Systems Department Head at Texas A&M Forest Service. “This project will add to that contribution, while providing critical habitat to endangered plant and animal species in Texas, clean drinking water and carbon storage.”
The grants are made possible by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and International Paper through the Forestland Stewards Initiative.
The deadline for applications is April 15. All applications should be emailed to TexasLongleafTeam@gmail.com. Hard copies can be mailed to the following address:
Texas A&M Forest Service
Forest Systems Department
200 Technology Way #1281
College Station, TX 77845
Longleaf pine ecosystems are a natural part of East Texas, and once spanned over 92 million acres across the American south. By the early 2000s, that number had fallen to 3.2 million acres when timber harvesting was at its peak in East Texas.
Longleaf pine was harvested for its fiber, huge diameter and tall, straight boles, which in turn produced high quality lumber.
After the longleaf pine restoration programs, that number has begun to rise again – today it’s up to 4.7 million acres – but it is still just 5% of their original volume.
According to the Texas A&M Forest Service, longleaf pines also provide a critical habitat for diverse plant and wildlife ecosystems. The environment is ideal for game species like white-tailed deer, wild turkey and quail– as well as more endangered species like the pocket gopher, Louisiana pine snake, Bachman’s sparrow and the red-cockaded woodpecker.
For more information about longleaf pine initiatives and how to apply for financial assistance, visit: http://tfsweb.tamu.edu/longleaf