Longleaf for All
Longleaf for All utilizes the network and platform of America’s Longleaf to increase minority participation in forestry-related programs, practices, and activities, and help landowners reap the economic, ecological, and cultural benefits of owning forested land. America’s Longleaf’s newest working group, Longleaf for All, initiated incredible results in the forestry outreach community in its inaugural year of 2021. Since then, we have formed a highly effective working group consisting of over 20 participants from various organizations and entities formed to engage and guide Longleaf for All. This group identified challenges facing minority landowners and professionals, as well as recommendations and networks that have led to potential on-the-ground results through the development of demonstration projects, including the Hoke Community Forest in North Carolina and the Hodges Estate Model Farm in South Georgia.
Our group is guided by a charter to officially guide the leaders and working group on goals and outcomes by setting an annual plan of work, approved by the Longleaf Partnership Council (LPC) and Longleaf Federal Coordinating Committee. Longleaf for All has received initial investments from: the United States Forest Service, the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), the Department of Defense, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to begin and continue this work. Initial successes of Longleaf for All include:
- The creation of a Barriers and Recommendations document detailing the challenges that face minority landowners, as well as guidance and action steps to address these challenges. The four main categories include: 1) Property rights; 2) Property size and scale of properties; 3) Access to capital, resources, and markets; and 4) Outreach challenges from distrust and disconnection.
- A number of these recommendations have already been integrated into America's Longleaf's 2022-2024 Strategic Priorities and Actions document and funding opportunities such as The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s Longleaf Landscape Stewardship Fund, and these recommendations are being provided to ALRI and partners with additional plans forming for implementation and next steps.
- USDA NRCS provided data on historical participation in the Farm Bill program to identify gaps and areas to prioritize in the future. The Longleaf for All Committee has requested additional NRCS granular data to pinpoint the locations to target our efforts.
Hoke Community Forest
In 2015, the Sandhills Prescribed Burn Association (SPBA) met with the Hoke County Commissioners in North Carolina to explore options to convert the publicly owned 532-acre Hoke Community Forest into a forest that would benefit residents. The long term management plan for this Sandhill property calls for the conversion of Loblolly pine into a Longleaf pine savannah to include trails and other amenities for recreational use.
The National Wildlife Federation was awarded an initial investment in 2021 from the USDA Forest Service and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) to work with project partners to restore longleaf pine on the Hoke Community Forest. Hoke County is a minority-majority county on the border of Ft. Bragg, and this forest is already generating income from timber sale income for the county and its citizens, and is on its way to becoming an outdoor recreational haven for Hoke County. Grant funds will support longleaf pine restoration activities including wiregrass and longleaf seedling plantings on the forest, prescribed fire application, and the removal of invasive species.
In Phase I, the SPBA engaged Enviva, the world’s largest producer of industrial wood pellets, to partner on the project. Recognizing the uniqueness of the project and knowing it would require expert plan development and execution, Enviva brought in their consulting partner Milliken Advisors to develop a harvesting plan, certify the tract to the stringent FSC Forest Management Standard, manage the timber sale and oversee future forest management activities. Phase I timber harvesting activities concluded in the Spring of 2022 providing financial benefits to Hoke County. Shortly after, a Phase II MOU was developed to expand the group of partners to further this groundbreaking project.
Additional funders of this project include: Altria, DoD, USDA NRCS, USDA Forest Service, and USDA NRCS North Carolina.
Hodges Estate Demonstration Forest
NWF and NRCS Georgia are working together to develop a model farm in Southeast Georgia with Herbert Hodges, a minority landowner and champion for longleaf restoration. Mr. Hodges’ property is showcasing his success with longleaf and wildlife habitat restoration, balancing economic and ecological priorities, and prescribed fire application. In 2022, a Learn & Burn was held at the Hodges property, and Mr. Hodges provided mentorship to fellow landowners interested in burning their property in the future.
Funding is provided by USDA NRCS Georgia.
Up next: NWF is partnering with The Longleaf Alliance to hold a Longleaf Academy 101 in January of 2023.
- Velicia Bergstrom, USDA Forest Service
- Ryan Bollinger, The Longleaf Alliance
- David Bourgeois, Center for Heirs Property
- Reed Caradine, Duke University
- Sam Cook, North Carolina State University
- Freddie Davis, Federation of Southern Cooperatives
- Jackie Davis-Slay, USDA, Office of Partnerships and Public Engagement
- Colette DeGarady, The Nature Conservancy
- Amadou Diop, USDA Forest Service Southern Region
- Amelia Dortch, USDA NRCS
- Chris Erwin, American Forest Foundation
- Jenn Fawcett, North Carolina State University
- Mavis Gragg, Sustainable Forestry and African American Land Retention (SFLR) Program
- Stephanie Hertz, Texas A&M Natural Resources Institute
- Katie Holland, Virginia Tech
- Kyle Jones, USDA Forest Service
- Luther Jones, retired USDA NRCS
- Jessica McGuire, Quail Forever
- JT Pynne, Georgia Wildlife Federation
- Lexie Rue-Harris, USDA Forest Service Southern Region
- Lauren Pharr, North Carolina State University
- Jon Scott, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation
- John Ann Shearer, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
- Hannah Sodolak, Texas A&M Natural Resources Institute
- Jerri Taylor, Sustainable Forestry Initiative
- Matthew Vandersande, USDA NRCS
- Jesse Wimberley, NC Sandhills Prescribed Burn Association
- Tiffany Woods, National Wildlife Federation