In partnership with the Forest Stewards Guild and Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation’s Division of Natural Areas, Tennessee Wildlife Federation’s Habitat Conservation Program recently planted 96,000 shortleaf pine seedlings on the Cumberland Plateau.
These plantings are the latest update in the Federation’s efforts to restore and enhance thousands of acres of shortleaf pine habitat on the Cumberland Plateau.
Last fall, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation awarded a $200,000 grant to restore shortleaf pine habitats on the Plateau. Additional funding was provided by the Lyndhurst Foundation.
Shortleaf pine has seen a 70 to 80 percent reduction in parts of Tennessee since 1980.
Now in the implementation phase, the project partners are using sustainable timber management, prescribed fire, and strategic plantings to revitalize the vanishing habitat.
Most of the shortleaf pines were planted on recently cleared loblolly pine plantations. This fall, the project partners will return to do prescribed burns at several locations on the Plateau.
“Prescribed burning helps knock back other vegetation that competes with the shortleaf pine,” said Chris Roberts, director of conservation at Tennessee Wildlife Federation. “Shortleaf pine is fire-tolerant and provides great habitat for wildlife.”