August 23, 2023

    Grants available to East Texas landowners to help restore longleaf pine forests

    COLLEGE STATION, TX — Texas A&M Forest Service and the Texas Longleaf Team have funding available through the Texas Longleaf Conservation Assistance Program for landowners interested in restoring and enhancing longleaf pine ecosystems on their property.

    Funding is available to assist landowners with the cost of site preparation and tree planting, as well as longleaf maintenance practices like prescribed burning and other activities that promote forest stand improvement.

    "Longleaf pine ecosystems are a natural and important part of the East Texas ecosystem, and once had a range of over 92 million acres across the southern U.S.,” said Hughes Simpson, Texas A&M Forest Service Chief Operating Officer. “But by the early 2000s, that number had fallen to 3.2 million acres.”

    Due to longleaf pine restoration programs, there are now 4.7 million acres of longleaf pine ecosystem. However, with only 5% of the original area, there is still work to do.

    Longleaf pine ecosystems provide critical habitat for the most diverse plant and wildlife ecosystems on the continent. More than 40 plant species have been identified within a single square meter of longleaf pine forests, with up to 140 different species per quarter-acre, all inside of a prairie-style understory that houses few shrubs or woody plants.

    This environment is ideal for game species such as white-tailed deer, wild turkey and quail as well as more at-risk and endangered species like the pocket gopher, Louisiana pine snake, Bachman’s sparrow and red-cockaded woodpecker.

    Funding for the Texas Longleaf Conservation Assistance Program is made available by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) and International Paper (NYSE: IP) through the Forestland Stewards Partnership.

    “The contributions made by IP and NFWF will go a long way to restoring one of the most critical and diverse forest ecosystems within the state of Texas,” said Simpson.

    Longleaf is harvested for its high-quality fiber, huge diameter and tall, straight boles, which in turn produce superior lumber. The Texas Longleaf Team hopes these qualities also produce an economic incentive for landowners to plant and sustainably harvest longleaf pine.

    “The forest sector contributes $41 billion to the Texas economy annually,” said Simpson. “This program will add to that contribution while providing critical habitat to endangered plant and animal species in Texas, clean drinking water and carbon storage.”

    Landowners interested in planting, restoring or enhancing longleaf pine on their property should contact Jenny Sanders with the Texas Longleaf Team at 936-225-2175 or

    Applications are due September 30, 2023 and can be found at

    For more information about longleaf pine initiatives, visit:

    For additional funding opportunities in Texas by county or program, visit



    Hughes Simpson, Texas A&M Forest Service Chief Operating Officer,
    Jenny Sanders, Texas Longleaf Implementation Team Coordinator, 936-225-2175,
    Texas A&M Forest Service Communications Office, 979-458-6606,