The Nature Conservancy in Mississippi planted 2.5 million trees over the past 5 years
Southern forest are often referred to as the “wood basket” of America. Our bottomland hardwoods of the Delta and the Longleaf Pines of south Mississippi were sought after by the industrial giants in the early 1900’s to build the cities of middle America including New Orleans, Chicago and St. Louis.
Although both forest types represent only a small percentage of their once vast acreages, their conservation importance remains. That’s why over the past five years, the Mississippi Chapter of The Nature Conservancy has directly planted almost 2.5 million trees in an effort to help restore these two unique Mississippi landscapes. TNC in Mississippi has partnered in this effort with private landowners, Delta Wildlife, Entergy, Mississippi’s Department of Environmental Quality, the Walton Foundation and the US Department of Agriculture. And before the end of the year the Conservancy hopes to add yet another 700,000 trees to this total as a result of restoration efforts in partnerships with the US Forest Service.
In the Delta, The Nature Conservancy in Mississippi provides monetary incentives, through the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP), to private landowners who allow bottomland hardwood reforestation on their property. Landowners in Washington, Sharkey, Issaquena, Bolivar, Humphreys, Holmes, Yazoo, Coahoma, Sunflower, Leflore, and Tallahatchie counties are participating in the program.
In Forrest and Jackson counties, 156,000 Longleaf Pines have been planted in an effort to restore this critical habitat. Habitat that supports a unique ecosystem that contains threatened and endangered species like the gopher tortoises and dusky gopher frogs.
“Understanding the role our Mississippi forests play in our economy just comes naturally to most Mississippians,” said Alex Littlejohn, State Director of the Conservancy in Mississippi “When you consider the 47,000 jobs and billion-dollar annual impact the forest related industry has on our state’s economy, it becomes easy to see why maintaining healthy forests is so vital to our way of life.”