success and how the Mississippi Chapter restores thousands of acres of degraded forests.  While Mississippi staff conducts prescribed burns, fights non-native invasive species and plants longleaf pines on our own preserves, we accomplish so much more when we join forces with others with the same goals.

Restoring Our Landscape with the Power of Fire and Friends

Partnering for Longleaf Restoration Success

For thousands of years much of southern Mississippi was covered in a great longleaf pine forest that stretched from Virginia to Texas. Native Americans depended on its abundance of game and diverse array of plants for food and medicine and the trees themselves for shelter and fire.  European settlers flocked to the region for its dense stands of grass that sustained free ranging cattle and sheep and made their living from the tall pines, cutting them for timber or tapping them for turpentine. Today less than 5% of the original 92 million acres of longleaf pine forest remains, making it one of the most endangered ecosystems in North America.

The Nature Conservancy in Mississippi works to conserve remaining longleaf forests and their ecologically significant inhabitants like the Dusky Gopher frog and carnivorous pitcher plants.  Partnering is a major part of The Conservancy’s

In 2006 both the Mississippi and Louisiana Chapters realized that they could be much more efficient with resources and simply get more done with a joint fire/stewardship team.  The Central Gulf Coop has conducted restoration activities on thousands of acres since its inception.  Although the structure has evolved, the concept and goals have remained the same.  The CGC has been a successful example of partnering across state lines, inspiring other teams to join up in greater efforts.

In the case of the De Soto-Camp Shelby Ecosystem Partnership, we aim to accelerate longleaf restoration through collaboration and helping each other achieve our collective goals. The Partnership is made up of state, federal and non-profits, all with an interest in longleaf pine.

The area surrounding the De Soto National Forest and Camp Shelby was identified as a Significant Geographic Area in the America’s Longleaf Plan and is a priority locale for longleaf restoration.  With nearly 500,000 acres in public lands management, this was a logical region to focus restoration efforts.  Strengthening and structuring this diverse collaboration of partners will enable us to achieve accelerated longleaf pine restoration.    The partnership will work collaboratively toward common goals and work together on strategies throughout the SGA.  This Implementation Team is one of over a dozen working across nine southern states where longleaf pine’s historic range occurs. 

If you are interested in learning more about our work in Miss, please email us at