Study Documents Economic Benefits of Longleaf Restoration
Not only is longleaf being successfully restored on the Osceola National Forest, the restoration efforts are generating significant positive returns for the broader economy according to a recent study. The Osceola’s effort -- dubbed Accelerating Longleaf Restoration in Northeast Florida-- was one of the first projects approved by the U.S. Forest Service for special funding under the Collaborative Forests Landscape Restoration Program (CFLRP). Created in 2009, the program supports collaborative, science-based ecosystem restoration of priority landscapes across the nation.
The Florida project has received considerable attention from conservationists for its ambitious goals of doubling prescribed fire acreage on the Forest, reducing fuel loads and restoring groundcover. Now impressive economic benefits have also been documented at the local, state and national scales. Considering the $6.7 M spent in various ways over 3 years (2010-2012), the total economic output has been a whopping $16.6 M with such diverse industries as forestry, fishing and hunting, retail, accommodations and food services being on the receiving end. The restoration expenditures also created 137 jobs and associated salaries and wages of $7.2M during a time of high unemployment. And, the project even generated tax revenues for hard hit state and local governments as well as for the federal treasury.
“Frankly, I was pleasantly surprised to see the extent and magnitude of the ‘ripple effect’ from these federal CFLRP dollars,’ said Carl Petrick with the U.S. Forest Service, National Forests in Florida in Tallahassee, FL. “ I wish more folks knew how funding for conservation efforts can benefit our economy in so many different ways.”
A closing note: The Osceola is also getting the job done for longleaf on the ground with more than more than 100,000 acres in fuels reduction, 56,000 acres in habitat improvement, some 3,000 acres in groundcover restoration and some 6,000 acres of slash pine converted to longleaf.
For further details on the economic study, go to http://www.fs.fed.us/restoration/documents/cflrp/results/AcceleratingLongleaf/EconomicAnalysisCFLRPreport.pdf; for info on CFLRP funded restoration on the Osceola and around the nation, see http://www.fs.fed.us/restoration/documents/cflrp/results/AcceleratingLongleaf/AcceleratingLongleafRestorationCFLRPnfsFL.pdf.