Sandhills Area Land Trust (SALT) Longleaf Restoration Project
By Susan Miller, US Fish & Wildlife Service
The “Longleaf Restoration on Private Lands in the North Carolina Sandhills SGA” project represents a unique collaboration between SALT, Natural Resources Conservation Service, North Carolina State University Extension Forestry, and the North Carolina Forest Service (NCFS). This collaboration will address one of the most challenging parts of the North Carolina Sandhills Conservation Partnership’s Strategic Plan and America’s Longleaf Range-Wide Conservation Plan, the engagement of private landowners and a lack of capacity for landowners to implement farm bill programs.
Through field days and workshops led by Extension and NCFS personnel, SALT will engage with landowners to provide educational and training opportunities and also the expertise and skills landowners needed to implement management practices. Additionally, SALT will identify individual landowners who can serve as peer educators - those landowners who are willing to mentor others. This will encourage a cohort of landowners to develop with the ability to safely and effectively implement management practices such as the use of prescribed fire on the landscape and develop prescribed burn associations.
SALT believes that engaging private landowners in the management of their own land holds the greatest potential for long term, sustainable longleaf restoration.
Image 1: Prescribed burn in a mature longleaf stand in North Carolina. Photo by USFWS/Susan Miller.