Alan Jackson’s hit 90s country song “Chattahoochee” focuses on the nostalgia of growing up around the Chattahoochee River in Georgia. If Jackson realized how critical the longleaf pine ecosystem is to the ecology of the region, he may have included a verse about it in the song.

Highly resistant to common disturbances such as insects and disease, fire, and drought, longleaf pines are able to pull a significant amount of carbon out of the atmosphere over their life time, producing vital long-term carbon benefits.

Longleaf pine ecosystems are also important to the natural world. One of North America's most diverse ecosystems, the understory of a longleaf pine forest can support around 40 plant species per square yard and is host to 29 federally listed species.

Once thriving in this vast ecosystem, the red-cockaded woodpecker, a small woodpecker famous for crafting nests in the trunks of mature or old pine trees, now faces a precarious existence with as little as 15,000 birds spread across 11 southern states.

Historical impacts - from European settlers and centuries of extraction, conversion, and fire suppression – have made reforestation critical to restoring this important ecosystem.

Thanks to our partnership with Tellurian and the USDA Forest Service, the National Forest Foundation has started the important work of longleaf pine restoration on the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest near Atlanta, Georgia. On behalf of the partnership, we planted 70,000 seedlings - mainly longleaf pine and a spattering of shortleaf pine - on approximately 100 acres in 2022 and in 2023.

“Eventually, over time, our grandchildren will see mature trees, as long as we write out a plan that we can continue following for the next 200 years.”

-Mike Hennigan, USDA Forest Service Silviculturist

This project is vital for biodiversity, ecosystem health, and habitat preservation for wildlife, including red-cockaded woodpeckers. An additional objective is to speed up recovery from outbreaks of southern pine beetles and other infesting beetles; one of the most damaging disturbances for the region.

“I wanted you to see that it can and does happen; it just takes proper management,” Mike Hennigan says to the group on a site visit as they view a collection of thriving longleaf pines that were planted in 2018.

Tellurian supporting longleaf pine restoration is just one example of our incredible partnerships in action. Check out this brief video to hear more from the team working on this project and connect with [email protected] if your business is interested in collaborating to support reforestation.

All photos by Mindy Crowell.


As you can see, planting trees is a vital and cherished part of our work on National Forests nationwide. Planting trees is a team effort at NFF from field managers to finance officers to our communicators and more. Your unrestricted gift helps ensure the entire NFF team is strong, focused, and ready to get trees in the ground. Please give today by simply clicking here. Thank you!

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