The federal government is making $800,000 available to North Carolinians trying to conserve the official state tree. Landowners who plant or manage stands of longleaf pine can apply now for cost-sharing help from the U-S Department of Agriculture. Longleaf forest used to cover some nine million acres of the southeastern US. But development and logging have cut it back to less than a million acres today.
J.B. Martin, Jr. is State Conservationist for the Natural Resources Conservation Service. He says longleaf forests are home to more than half of the state's amphibians.
"Additionally, the forested habitat is home to at least 122 endangered or threatened plant and animal species, including the fox squirrel, northern bobwhite, red-cockaded woodpecker, and gopher tortoise."
The USDA will pick up 75% of the cost for proposals it accepts. Applications are open till January