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Hybrid Lunchbox Talk - From Conflict to Collaboration: How Conservation Partnerships are Helping Save an Imperiled Ecosystem

with Jeff Marcus, Wildlife Biologist, The Nature Conservancy



The longleaf pine ecosystem is one of the most biologically diverse in North America, and the endangered red-cockaded woodpecker is one of its most iconic species. In the 1990s, populations of this woodpecker in the NC Sandhills were critically low. The largest population was on Fort Liberty (formerly Fort Bragg), but the Army did not want to alter training or land management. Private landowners mistrusted government agencies and were cutting their longleaf rather than see an endangered bird move in. It had the makings of a classic environmental conflict, until some forward-thinking people decided they had more to gain from solving the underlying problem than fighting each other. What resulted was the invention of several key programs that are now used nation-wide, the recovery of the Sandhills population, and a partnership that became a model for how to do collaborative conservation. This talk will discuss longleaf conservation efforts in NC and across the range and will explore how the lessons learned from the Sandhills can be applied to other environmental conflicts. This talk is part of the Saving our Savannas: Stories of the Longleaf Pine exhibition, which explores the history, ecology, and culture of the longleaf pine ecosystem.


Photo by Roberto Gonzalez for The Nature Conservancy

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