Pulaski County farmer restoring longleaf pine trees
“That tree is in the early grass stage,” farmer Tim Allen said while pointing to a tree.
If you look around Allen’s farm, you won’t see any massive longleaf pine trees, yet. Two and a half years ago, Allen planted thousands of longleaf pine seedlings on his farm.
“This was the dominant native pine tree when the Europeans came,” Allen said. “It covered approximately 21 million acres in Georgia.”
But not anymore.
“Because of its industrial applications, people harvested it for years and years and did not replant it to replenish it for future generations,” Calvin Essex with the Natural Resources Conservation Service said.
That is why the NRCS is working with landowners like Allen. The federal organization, which is part of the USDA, provides funds to help restore longleaf pine across nine southeastern states, one tree at a time.
“These are investments in maintaining the soil, it’s keeping air clean, it’s keeping water clean,” Essex said. “So all of these investments that the taxpayer is making is for the long term benefit of this country.”
And for the wildlife.
“For many years, we didn’t have any quail here, but since we’ve started prepping the land, planting the longleaf, we have quite a few covens of quail that have come back,” Allen said.
In about 35 years, the longleaf pine trees will be more than 100 feet tall. But Allen is in no hurry. He is just happy to be a part of the growing effort.
“We wanted to be the best stewards of the land,” Allen said. “This will help establish the longleaf back and my offspring will benefit from this.”
According to the USDA, since 2010, the NRCS has invested more than $36 million to help thousands of land owners like Allen.
Click here if you are interested in joining the effort.