LandCAN Conservation Success Stories

Land, Wildlife habitat, and Energy Conservation Success Stories.

Browse our Growing Library of Success Stories

Our Lands


Our lands and soil are possibly the most underappreciated resources we have, yet their conservation is vital to humanity. We need to have an important discussion on what can be done to protect the planet through proper land management. This video, produced by the National Grazing Lands Coalition (NatGLC), it shares one of the many stories about the importance of the work ranchers and farmers do every day. “I think people have forgotten the large amounts of land that ranchers like us preserve and maintain in order to raise beef and provide ecosystem services,” says Chad Ellis, NatGLC’s Board Chair. “It’s time for a fresh perspective being taken into account when discussing our country’s lands and I think that this video is very effective in communicating this message. Ranchers need to be part of the conversation on climate change solutions because they very well could be the answer.”


When Conservation Happens Collaboratively


When Heather Dutton, fresh out of undergraduate school at the Warner College of Natural Resources and graduate school in the College of Agriculture at Colorado State University, began her first job working for a non-profit river restoration organization in the San Luis Valley, she was thrilled. She also felt confident that her technical training in restoration ecology had prepared her for the challenges she’d soon be facing.

Heather was in for a surprise.


Malpai Borderlands Group


The Malpai Borderlands Group is a grassroots, landowner-driven organization that is implementing cooperative ecosystem management on almost one million acres of virtually unfragmented landscape in southeastern Arizona and southwestern New Mexico along the Mexican border.  The area has been called a “working wilderness”.


Florida Partnership Enables Landscape-Level Prescribed Burn


On March 2, 2018, a large prescribed burn occurred at the Yellow River Water Management Area in Santa Rosa County, Florida, which is managed by the Northwest Florida Water Management District. Weather and atmospheric conditions were ideal and resources were available for the Florida Forest Service to approve the burn permit. Aerial ignition via helicopter started the fire systematically across the landscape. Ground firing and monitoring crews, consisting of 15 personnel were stationed at the tract perimeter as ground support during the burn.


Georgia State Park Restores Important Pine-Oak Forest Community with Prescribed Fire


Tallulah Gorge State Park and the town of Tallulah Falls, Georgia are surrounded by a unique, fire-adapted forest community that, without low-intensity fire management, would gradually disappear. Restoration efforts are currently underway tore-establish this forest community with prescribed fire and mechanical treatments.


Drone Use Assists in Wildfire Prevention at Great Dismal Swamp, Virginia


The 112,000 acre Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge near Suffolk, Virginia has a long history of large and dangerous wildfires. One and a half million people live adjacent to the swamp, making the Refuge boundary a significant Wildland Urban Interface (WUI). For this reason, wildfire management and smoke concerns are a major issue at the Refuge. To assist in early fire detection and prevention, NASA developed an interagency agreement with the Refuge and an additional agreement with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to build and operate several inexpensive drones, or unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), for use at the Refuge.


Firewise Success at Holiday Island Arkansas


The Firewise program is a nationwide initiative that recognizes communities for taking action to protect people and properties from the risk of fire in the wildland/urban interface. Communities tailor education and clean-up to fit their needs with cooperative assistance from state forestry agencies and local fire staff. State forestry agencies support the Firewise Communities/USA recognition effort which works through the National Association of State Foresters (NASF). Arkansas leads the nation with the most recognized Firewise communities in the state.


Prescribed Fire Program Reduces Wildfire Severity


Over four long days in late March 2011, the most severe wildfire outbreak in a decade occurred at Eglin Air Force Base, located near Destin, Florida (Fig. 1). A persistent drought, 20 mph winds and low humidity, combined with 12-15 arson fires on the property, resulted in 6,000 acres burned in a matter of days. Due to Eglin’s aggressive prescribed fire program, the March 2011 wildfire severity and acres burned were significantly reduced. Without this regular fuel reduction, anywhere from 10-12,000 acres could have burned just on the Eglin side, with untold acres burned and property damaged north of Interstate 10.


Creating a Fire Resilient Landscape in the Pisgah National Forest


On July 14, 2015, a lightning strike ignited a wildfire on Bald Knob in the Grandfather Ranger District (GRD) of the Pisgah National Forest. Only 30 miles outside of Asheville, North Carolina and on rugged terrain difficult to access, the wildfire may have posed greater threat had it not been adjacent to areas containing recent fuel treatments (prescribed fire) and wildfires. These treatments, as part of the Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Program (CFLRP), reduced fire fuel loads in the forest and enabled the Bald Knob fire to safely burn while protecting firefighters, local residents, structures, power line corridors, communication towers, and Forest Service property and surrounding land. Fuel treatments positively influenced the fire’s spread and allowed firefighting efforts to truly focus on protection of private properties. The inaccessible terrain as well as the confine and contain strategy allowed ample time to keep the effected community well informed of current fire behavior, smoke impacts and management plans for the fire.


Brevard County, Florida Uses Prescribed Fire to Manage Environmentally Endangered Lands


The Environmentally Endangered Lands (EEL) Program, located in Brevard County, Florida was established in 1990 to protect natural habitats while also providing recreational and educational opportunities to residents and visitors. Approved through referendum by Brevard County voters in 1990, the EEL program provides funding and guidance to form a network of sanctuary lands to be purchased and indefinitely managed by the Program.


Austin-Travis County Becomes a Model Fire Adapted Community Following Destructive Wildfires

Two destructive wildfires in 2011 brought the importance of wildfire preparation and protection to the forefront of the City of Austin, Travis County, Texas. These fires led to a multi-year, multi-faceted project to address wildland fire safety in Austin-Travis County.

The Austin Fire Department (AFD) provided the human-power, expertise, and educational resources necessary to address wildland fire issues. In 2013, the AFD, with federal, state, and local partners, developed a Community Wildfire Protection Plan, a plan specifically designed to reduce wildland fire risk according to the needs of Austin-Travis County.


Enon-Sehoy Plantation Uses Prescribed Fire to Improve Quail and Red-cockaded Woodpecker Habitat


Enon-Sehoy Plantation, located in the Alabama Upper Coastal Plains, is a recreational, quail hunting property renowned for its open-story pine trees and diverse wildlife. The 27,500 acre, privately-owned property contains widely spaced longleaf, shortleaf, loblolly, and slash pine forests (basal area of 15-60 square feet per acre) with diverse understory grasses and forbs, such as bluestem, switchgrass, and the federally endangered American chaffseed. The forests and understory vegetation support abundant wildlife, including deer, turkey, and quail, as well as the threatened Bachman’s sparrow and the federally endangered red-cockaded woodpecker. Within four years, the property’s red-cockaded woodpecker population grew from just 3 clusters to 29 potential breeding groups.


Agencies Join Forces to Create Ecosystem Restoration Teams


In a unique partnership, the Florida Forest Service and The Nature Conservancy have joined forces as they use fire strike teams, currently referred to as Ecosystem Restoration Teams, to restore a variety of forest ecosystems and get fire back on the ground across the state of Florida.


Salem Saloom and the Protection of the Long Leaf Pines


Saleem Saloom  A retired surgeon, Salem Saloom, owns 2,200 acres of land and works to protect long leaf farms 


Operation Ponderosa


In 2014, Texas A&M Forest Service partnered with The Nature Conservancy to begin reforestation efforts on the Davis Mountains Preserve.  Between 2015 and 2016, TFS received a 3-year $200,000 grant from USDA Forest Service for initial forest stand assessments and management prescriptions. Stands were marked and baseline data gathered in preparation for the thinning of 350 acres. Over 2,000 seedlings were planted in a site prep experiment, and as wildland planting. The wildland planting includes any seedlings that were planted outside of the pre-determined research sites


West Wind Farm


West Wind FarmTo many in Munfordville, Charlie Williams is simply known as “the tree man.” From a young age, Charlie developed a passion for woodland stewardship after he received 90 acres of land from his grandfather for Christmas. He has nurtured and expanded his landholdings into 1,200 acres, including over 1,000 acres of woodlands.


Turner Family Farms


Turner Family FarmsConservation ethics were instilled in Mark Turner at a young age while helping his father on the family farm. When Mark took over Turner Farms, he saw the negative effects on the land from the moldboard plow, and decided to purchase his first no-till drill in 1983. The farm is now no-till and cover cropped on every acre.


Trunnell Family Farm


Trunnell Family FarmAchieving soil health through the use of no-till farming and cover crops is nothing new to Edward (Myrel) Trunnell, who began farming more than six decades ago. Conservation is synonymous with his idea of farming.


Tallow Creek Farm


Tallow Creek FarmWhile working tirelessly at their jobs running a custom injection molding firm, Ray Pelle and his son Harry decided to pursue their dream of owning land to reconnect with nature and hunt. Ray bought the first 400-acre tract of land in 1982 in the knobby Tallow Creek area of northern Taylor County. After Ray’s passing in 2003, Harry and his wife Karen continued to follow the dream and have since added another 1,100 acres of forest onto Tallow Creek Farm. 


Springhill Farms


Springhill FarmsWhile growing up in Hickman County in western Kentucky, Jerry Peery operated a tractor on his father’s farm starting at the age of seven. He farmed side-by-side with him during his teenage years, and began farming on his own after graduating from high school in 1957.