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Accelerating Longleaf Pine Restoration in Northeast Florida
In northeast Florida, longleaf pine has been harmed by the uncontrolled presence of palmetto plants—which have overgrown due to a lack of natural fire. This Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Program (CFLRP) project uses stand thinning, controlled burning, and hazard fuel reduction to meet its goal of accelerating the restoration of the longleaf pine. Covering an area that extends beyond the borders of the Osceola National Forest to include private, state, and other federal lands, the project requires collaboration between these land owners and managers to determine implementation methods and monitor success.
Summary of Action and Outcome
The area surrounding the Osceola National Forest has seen an acceleration of longleaf pine restoration and ecosystem health improvement through a collaboratively implemented process of thinning, prescribed burning, and fuels reduction.
Congress authorized appropriation of up to $40M annually for Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Program (CFLRP) project implementation and monitoring to cover up to 50 percent of these costs, with no more than $4M going to any one project. The Forest Service funding shown here is the lifelong request for CFLRP funding. Forest Service and partner match funds, as well as goods for services through stewardship contracts, are leveraged to cover the remaining costs of the projects. Total annual expenditures are given in project annual reports.
All CFLRP projects were selected by a Federal Advisory Committee. Details on project proposals can be found here.
For up-to-date project information, see the annual reports on the “Results” page of the USFS CFLRP website.
An economic impact study conducted by Southwick and Associates and Responsive Management was conducted for the first three years of the Accelerating Longleaf Project.
A suite of ecological and biological data is being collected from randomly selected plots to monitor effects that can be extrapolated across the landscape. Forty sites were surveyed in 2015, focusing on avian diversity and abundance, plant diversity and cover, and ecological condition, utilizing a ranked tier system. Additionally, vegetation treatments were monitored by the Collaborative to determine efficacy of treatments for ecological restoration in pine flatwoods.
Preliminary data findings support that ongoing work is generally moving the Osceola landscape to an improved ecological condition. While the majority of monitoring is being conducted by the Tall Timbers Research Station umbrella, the Cooperative for Conserved Forest Ecosystems: Outreach and Research is also measuring efficacy of treatment types. Data from these monitoring efforts are utilized to update the Osceola National Forest’s management techniques and Ecological Condition Model.
The collaboration was designed so that all parties agreed to have equal responsibility in monitoring and management, despite differentiated land ownership. All parties had some benefit to be gained from the project, even if different in nature.
The project is ongoing, as it is being implemented by plots of land. Some areas have seen completion of the process.