Found in 22 states, from New Jersey south to Florida and east to Oklahoma and Texas, the once extensive shortleaf pine ecosystem has lost over 50% of its range in only the last 40 years. This rapid decline, due to landuse changes, altered fire regimes, conversion to other commercial species, and southern pine beetle outbreaks in poorly managed stands, has led to a call for shortleaf pine restoration across the range. The Grandfather Restoration Project is perfectly poised to answer this call with our goal of restoring fire adapted ecosystems.
Shortleaf pines were once common throughout the North Carolina piedmont and low elevation mountains up to 3000 feet in elevation. The Grandfather Ranger District, with its low elevation South facing slopes provides a great opportunity for shortleaf pine restoration. In fact, vegetation mapping shows the potential for shortleaf pine restoration on over 1/3 of the district lands. Right now, partners from the Grandfather Restoration Project are in the initial project planning phases of a large shortleaf pine restoration initiative, while implementing small plantings as part of current restoration projects. With a targeted program of restoration forestry practices, shortleaf plantings, and a natural prescribed fire regime, the Grandfather Restoration Project hopes to be a leader in shortleaf pine restoration in the Southern Appalachians.