This Arbor Day, AgAmerica celebrates by once again contributing to the reforestation of natural habitats in Florida.
At AgAmerica, our love of the land drives us in our mission to support our nation’s farmers and ranchers. We recognize the impact we have on the land and therefore strive to do all we can to help reforestation efforts. For the third consecutive year, we are proud to support the vision of the Arbor Day Foundation by aiding in reforestation efforts in Florida. Learn more about this year’s donation.
It is estimated that 350,000 acres of farm and ranch land are lost yearly to urban sprawl and competing demands for the “highest and best use” of farmland. At AgAmerica, we believe some of the most important “best uses” of our country’s land to be farmland, ranch land, and native habitat. To that end, we are proud to assist in the Arbor Day Foundation’s efforts to restore native land in Florida.
AgAmerica’s Continued Reforestation Efforts
Our reforestation efforts range from a 2,000 longleaf pine tree donation to the Etoniah Creek State Forest in North Florida in 2016 to a 2,000 slash pine tree donation to the Myakka State Forest in West Central Florida in 2017. Through our partnership with the Arbor Day Foundation, our 2018 efforts again focus in West Central Florida. AgAmerica donated 2,000 longleaf pine trees for planting in Withlacoochee State Forest.
Reforestation Efforts in Withlacoochee State Forest
Withlacoochee State Forest is currently the third largest state forest in Florida. While an important platform for ecological restoration, it is also managed for timber, wildlife, and outdoor recreation. Many species of trees create the dense woodlands and canopy trails including slash pine, longleaf pine, pond cypress, bald cypress, oak, maple, southern magnolia, gum, and hickory, that are home to native wildlife.
This region has faced alterations in land use that go back as far as the 1800s. Efforts are now underway to convert the area back to its natural longleaf pine, sandhill ecosystem. Withlacoochee State Forest reforestation project will see 378,690 longleaf pines planted on 509 acres. Longleaf pines are native to the southern United States and thrive in the full sun and soil type Florida offers.
The Arbor Day Foundation project not only helps to support watershed health in both the Springs Coast Watershed and the Withlacoochee River South Watershed, but also provides critical habitat for a variety of wildlife. As a result, wildlife including gopher tortoises, Sherman’s fox squirrels, red-cockaded woodpeckers, bobwhite quails, and other endangered or threatened species, or species of special concern are abundant.
AgAmerica Lending is proud to continue our partnership with the Arbor Day Foundation. Managing the ecosystem is an integral part of securing the future of our land for generations of farmers and ranchers to come and is an effort we are honored to play a role in.
Photos courtesy of Florida Forest Service.