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Environment

500,000th Longleaf Pine Seedling to be Planted

A partnership that works to protect and restore the longleaf pine in North Carolina will plant its 500,000th seedling today. Debbie Crane of the Nature Conservancy says the tree is an iconic state symbol, but it's been in decline for decades.

Debbie Crane: At one point longleaf pine covered 90 million acres in the South, and today that's less than 3 million acres remain. And a lot of that is not in good shape - it does need to be burned, it needs to have new seedlings planted, that kind of thing. So we have a long way to go. This I guess is a brief celebratory moment.

Crane says the Conservancy teamed up with the government a decade ago to restore the longleaf pine ecosystem around Fort Bragg. The goal was to protect an endangered species of woodpecker. The 500,000th seedling will be planted today in Carvers Creek State Park, which is under development near the base.

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