Gulf Forest Retention
Forests comprise 50 percent of the land cover in the Gulf’s coastal counties and have played a vital role in the region’s recovery from the 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill, which affected over 1,000 miles of Gulf of Mexico coastline. Forests provide wildlife habitat, storm protection, clean water, and support rural jobs. Private landowners typically manage 85 percent or more of the woodlands in Gulf states, so engaging them in stewardship practices is vital to forest health and the success of restoration efforts.
With the American Forest Foundation and Forest Service Region 8, the Endowment initiated work with the state foresters of Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas to ensure that forest owners were engaged and forests would be part of the restoration solution to revitalize the forest economy and ecosystems devastated by this event. The goal of the partnership is to secure funding and implement projects that will pay dividends to the region long after the settlement funds are gone.