In the southeastern United States, private landowners manage a majority of the forests, and despite their widespread pursuit of longleaf pine (Pinus palustris) restoration, little is known about their motivation, the challenges they face, and their expected outcomes. In 2009, in order to increase understanding of how landowners perceive, practice, and afford longleaf pine restoration, we conducted a written survey of managers in nine southeastern states. Motivations for longleaf pine restoration included both profit, as at least 50% of the respondents emphasized longleaf pine's economic value, and non-profit (wildlife habitat, natural heritage, biological diversity) goals. Our results also show that time and effort are not limiting factors, while availability of financial support and the cost of restoration are. Over 80% of respondents relied on some form of financial support for their restoration projects. The vast majority (78%) of restoration practitioners identified single-species dominance of longleaf pine as the targeted “reference state.” We suggest landowners consider expanding their desired targets to include a mixed-dominance stand component, thereby reducing costs associated with regeneration and time-to-rotation, since mature loblolly (P. taeda), shortleaf (P. echinata), and slash (P. elliottii) pines are often already present. Mixed-stand inclusion would still meet the reported objectives of restoration, but would decrease the specific challenges associated with solely rearing longleaf pine and thereby ease the financial burden of restoring forests to include a significant longleaf pine component.
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