National Fish and Wildlife Foundation releases 2024 Request for Proposals for Longleaf Landscape Stewardship Fund, which will have about US$30M in grant funds available in 2024; funds will support projects to plant, protect longleaf pine forests

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WASHINGTON, D.C. , November 29, 2023 (press release) –

The program expects to award a record $30 million in grants to restore and enhance longleaf pine habitat across the South

The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) today announced the release of the 2024 Request for Proposals (RFP) for the Longleaf Landscape Stewardship Fund

The fund is a public-private partnership supported with Federal funding from USDA’s Forest Service (USFS) and Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), and private funding from Altria Group, the Bezos Earth Fund, International Paper’s Forestland Stewards Partnership and Southern Company.

Approximately $30 million in grant funds is expected to be available in 2024, marking a second consecutive year of record funding levels thanks to a second-year major contribution from the Bezos Earth Fund and increased funding from NRCS. This is the highest amount ever offered over the past two decades of NFWF’s longleaf restoration grant making and will help accelerate progress towards broader landscape goals to restore 8 million acres of longleaf by 2040.

In 2024, the fund seeks proposals for projects that will:

  • Establish new longleaf pine forests through plantings and improve management of existing longleaf pine habitats on public and private lands to support wildlife, sequester carbon, safeguard water quality and increase forest resilience 
  • Address barriers to scaling-up longleaf pine plantings
  • Coordinate and expand landowner outreach and technical assistance to support voluntary longleaf pine restoration on private lands, including efforts to engage and support historically undeserved landowners
  • Protect high-quality longleaf pine habitat through the use of voluntary conservation easements and fee-simple acquisitions
  • Accelerate the recovery and improve populations of at-risk, listed and other wildlife species

“In 2023, we saw a record $62 million in demand from Longleaf Landscape Stewardship Fund applications, and thanks to our partners, we awarded the largest, most impactful grant slate in program history,” said Jay Jensen, southern regional director for NFWF. “The need is there, and it will be exciting to meet that demand with this record year of funding. We have an opportunity to support true landscape-scale projects that will reach a wider array of landowners, including underserved landowners, in order to accelerate longleaf pine habitat restoration and benefit a broader array of species.”

Longleaf Landscape Stewardship Fund grant proposals are due February 15, 2024, and the full RFP can be found here. An applicant webinar will be held December 12, 2023, at 2 p.m. Eastern Time and interested applicants can register here

The Longleaf Landscape Stewardship Fund aims to accelerate restoration of the longleaf pine ecosystem and species recovery by supporting on-the-ground conservation projects. The fund targets investments within “Significant Geographic Areas” as outlined in the range-wide longleaf conservation plan and NFWF’s longleaf business plan, anchored by military bases and installations, national forests, national wildlife refuges, as well as state and other protected lands. While the program seeks to target investments for highest impact, funds can also support locally based partnerships outside the focus areas dedicated to restoring longleaf pine and providing technical assistance to private landowners across longleaf pine’s historic range.

Proposals are reviewed by a public-private committee of partners and technical experts and funding decisions are based on criteria found in the RFP.

Additional information about the Longleaf Landscape Stewardship Fund can be found here.

About the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation
Chartered by Congress in 1984, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) protects and restores the nation’s fish, wildlife, plants and habitats. Working with federal, corporate, foundation and individual partners, NFWF has funded more than 6,000 organizations and generated a total conservation impact of $8.1 billion. Learn more at www.nfwf.org.

About the Natural Resources Conservation Service
As the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s primary private lands conservation agency, the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) helps America’s farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners make investments in their operations and local communities to keep working lands working, boost rural economies, increase the competitiveness of American agriculture, and improve the quality of our air, water, soil, and habitat. Through one-on-one, personalized and voluntary assistance, NRCS works with producers and communities to find the best solutions to meet their unique conservation and business goals to ensure the health of our natural resources and the long-term sustainability of American agriculture.

About the U.S. Forest Service
The mission of the USDA Forest Service is, “To sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of the Nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations.” The Forest Service manages 193 million acres of forest lands with tribal governments, state and private landowners, and maintains the largest forest research organization in the world.

About the U.S. Department of Defense
The Department of Defense is America's largest government agency. With our military tracing its roots back to pre-Revolutionary times, the department has grown and evolved with our nation. Our mission is to provide the military forces needed to deter war and ensure our nation's security.

About the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is to work with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals, and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit fws.gov.

About the Bezos Earth Fund
The Bezos Earth Fund is a $10 billion grant commitment by Jeff Bezos to fund scientists, activists, NGOs and others to help drive climate and nature solutions. By allocating funds creatively, wisely, and boldly, the Bezos Earth Fund has the potential for transformative influence in this decisive decade. Funds will be fully allocated by 2030 — the date by which the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals must be achieved. For more information, visit us at bezosearthfund.org

About International Paper
International Paper (NYSE: IP) is a global producer of planet-friendly packaging, pulp and other fiber-based products, and one of North America's largest recyclers. Headquartered in Memphis, Tenn., we employ approximately 39,000 colleagues globally who are committed to creating what's next. We serve customers worldwide, with manufacturing operations in North America, Latin America, North Africa and Europe. Net sales for 2022 were $21.2 billion. Additional information can be found by visiting www.internationalpaper.com

About Southern Company
Southern Company (NYSE:SO) is a leading energy provider serving 9 million customers across the Southeast and beyond through its family of companies. Providing clean, safe, reliable and affordable energy with excellent service is our mission. The company has electric operating companies in three states, natural gas distribution companies in four states, a competitive generation company, a leading distributed energy distribution company with national capabilities, a fiber optics network and telecommunications services. Through an industry-leading commitment to innovation, resilience and sustainability, we are taking action to meet customers’ and communities’ needs while advancing our goal of net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. Our uncompromising values ensure we put the needs of those we serve at the center of everything we do and are the key to our sustained success. We are transforming energy into economic, environmental and social progress for tomorrow. Our corporate culture and hiring practices have earned the company national awards and recognition from numerous organizations, including Forbes, The Military Times, DiversityInc, Black Enterprise, J.D. Power, Fortune, Human Rights Campaign and more. To learn more, visit http://www.southerncompany.com.

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