Virginia Ecological Services
Northeast Region

Longleaf Pine Restoration

Less than 3 percent of the original longleaf forests remain in the southeastern United States. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Partners for Fish and Wildlife (PFW) Program is participating in a long-term federal, state, and non-profit effort to restore longleaf pine savannah and its dependant species to a portion of what was once 1 million acres of longleaf pine in Virginia (detailed range map - PDF) . The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and its partners are currently restoring longleaf pine habitat potentially suitable for red-cockaded woodpecker (federally listed as endangered). Approximately 478 acres of suitable uplands will be prepared and planted with longleaf pine.

Map depicting the historic range of longleaf pine
Map Credit: America's Longleaf Intiative

Photograph of a Red-cockaded woodpecker

Longleaf pine restoration in Sussex and Southampton Counties, Virginia will be accomplished by conducting site preparation (clearing, spraying, and/or burning as appropriate), planting, and monitoring.  Completed projects will result in the restoration of longleaf pine forest communities; habitat for red-cockaded woodpecker and many high priority migratory birds, including Bachman’s sparrow, prairie warbler, brown thrasher, brown-headed nuthatch, Eastern towhee, and Eastern wood peewee.

Our partners, The Nature Conservancy, The Virginia Natural Heritage Program, Natural Resources Conservation Service, and the Virginia Department of Forestry have been active in providing technical and financial support in the area west of the Great Dismal Swamp NWR where longleaf pine and the red-cockaded woodpecker currently reach their northern limits.


Current and Historic Distribution of Red-cockaded Woodpecker
Map depicting the historic and current distribution range for Red-cockaded woodpecker
Map Credit: From Our Living Resources: A Report to the Nation on the Distribution, Abundance, and Health of U.S. Plants, Animals, and Ecosystems. Costa and Walker, 1995.

Restoration of agricultural fields to longleaf pine forests and long-term protection of restored upland areas draining to the Nottoway River will reduce sedimentation and increase water quality. This is particularly important to the federally listed endangered Roanoke logperch (PDF - 1.2MB), which needs unsilted substrate for more successful reproduction and juvenile foraging. Dwarf wedge mussel (PDF), federally listed endangered, will also benefit from a reduction in silt, nutrients and herbicides from agricultural fields and managed loblolly pine plantations, providing higher quality habitat for reproduction and filter feeding. Similar to Roanoke logperch, the Roanoke bass will benefit from improvements in water quality and foraging habitat. Yellow lance may also benefit from habitat enhancements resulting from this project.

The vision of America's Longleaf Pine Initiative is "to have functional, viable, longleaf pine ecosystems with the full spectrum of ecological, economic, and social values inspired through a voluntary partnership of concerned, motivated organizations and individuals. Meeting this challenge will require the strategic coordination of conservation actions among many partners and sectors that influence land use, with the goal of ensuring long-term sustainability and resiliency of these systems, and their constituent biodiversity." In 2009 they released their Range-wide Conservation Plan for Longleaf Pine (PDF- 4.35MB) . The Virginia longleaf pine restoration partnership is part of America's Longleaf Initiative.

Useful links:

Logo for Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program

Partners for FWS


Focal Areas

Who Qualifies

Copper Creek

Lake Tecumseh

Longleaf Pine

Power Dam

South Martha Washington Wetlands

Southern Tip Ecological Partnership, Phase III

Veterans Memorial Park Dam

Completed Projects

Our Partners

Contact Us

Frequently Asked Questions

Last updated: December 6, 2012
All images by FWS unless otherwise noted.