The SC Forestry Commission has just received a $1.74 million stimulus grant to restore longleaf pine trees in the state.It was one of 17 grants the agency applied for, totaling $37.5 million. Officials say that translates into funds for private landowners and job creation. The Longleaf Pine Restoration Initiative will create jobs for equipment operators, tree planters, herbicide applicators, foresters, and forest technicians.
And officials say the Initiative will, through increased funding for prescribed burning, reduce the risk of dangerous wildfires.
The longleaf grant provides funding for ecosystem restoration that will provide improved habitat for many species of wildlife, including the endangered red-cockaded woodpecker. Longleaf, easily distinquished from other pines by their extremely long needles, once covered a vast range from Virginia to Texas, but has now practically disappeared. Environmental groups, industry, and government have established a 15-year goal of increasing the distinctive trees by five million acres.
A limited amount of grant funds are available as incentive payments for private landowners. To apply contact your local SC Forestry Commission office before October 15th.