There are several guiding principles that shape how the America's Longleaf Initiative proposes to approach the range-wide conservation of longleaf ecosystems.
Accordingly, these guiding principles are intrinsic to shaping the thoughts, recommendations, organization and content of the Conservation Plan:
Strategic, Science-based Approach- The success of America's Longleaf hinges on a strategic, science-based approach to conservation. This approach serves as a framework for identifying, prioritizing, integrating and evaluating the efforts and activities of the partnership with the purpose of targeting conservation efforts in ways that most effectively contribute to stated objectives.
Site-based Conservation Efforts in the Context of Sustainable Landscapes- All habitat-based conservation actions must ultimately affect habitat availability and condition at the site level. Site-specific, local scales are where habitat conservation "hits the ground." However, local habitat projects need to be planned and implemented in the context of their role in most effectively contributing to objectives (e.g., population viability, biodiversity, ecosystem services, or socio-economic values) that will only be realized at much larger spatial scales. Through a strategic, science-based approach, America's Longleaf hopes to guide, coordinate and support the site-based habitat conservation efforts of its partners and link them across spatial scales.
Involvement by Public and Private Sectors- The conservation of longleaf pine ecosystems demands the combined interest and attention of public and private entities and individuals that manage land or otherwise affect land use, and provide labor and material to conserve longleaf. Success in conserving and restoring longleaf ecosystems will depend on it being an economically viable, socially acceptable, and otherwise practical option for private and public land stewards alike. In addition to more traditional conservation partners, success will require that America's Longleaf actively engage important private land-use communities and businesses (e.g., agriculture, timber products, home builders associations, etc.), as well as local, state, and federal governmental organizations that represent a comprehensive cross-section of land-use interests.
Partnerships and Collaboration- A successful Initiative will require ongoing cooperation, collaboration, and a perspective that is firmly focused on longleaf conservation at the range-wide scale. The Initiative does not attempt to start anew, but will build on the work previously initiated by other landscape-based partnerships. It will integrate its actions and align them with the goals and objectives of other existing plans, initiatives, and efforts including Joint Venture Implementation Plans, State Wildlife Action Plans, Endangered Species Recovery Plans, National Forest and Wildlife Refuge Management Plans, Northern Bobwhite Conservation Initiative, Partners for Amphibian and Reptile Conservation as well as plans developed by international and national bird initiatives. State Forest Assessments and Strategies will be taken into account as developed in the next two years.
Conservation Plan as a Framework and Catalyst- The Conservation Plan is intended to provide a range-wide framework for longleaf ecosystem conservation, identify the most significant strategic actions to conserve these systems, and serve as a catalyst to further conservation and restoration actions in a strategic and outcome-oriented fashion. The Conservation Plan does not intend to be prescriptive, but rather acknowledges that the true work of identifying and addressing specific conservation activities will occur through subsequent efforts, with as many stakeholders as possible working collaboratively under the umbrella of the America's Longleaf Initiative.