Linda Loring Nature Foundation Awarded State Wildlife Habitat Management Grant.
Funds provided through the grant program will support wildlife habitat improvement projects at LLNF, including grassland habitat restoration and invasive species removal.
The Linda Loring Nature Foundation (LLNF) is pleased to announce it has been awarded a grant from the MassWildlife Habitat Management Grant Program to create and improve grassland habitats by removing non-native invasive tree species and restoring natural ecosystem processes. The $75,000 awarded is one of the largest amounts given to any one organization in 2022.
The LLNF grant will be used to fund the removal of invasive, non-native Japanese Black Pine (Pinus thunbergii) in an effort to restore valuable sandplain grassland habitat. This state funding will allow LLNF to hire skilled contractors to remove both standing dead and live trees.
Thirteen municipalities and organizations across the state have been awarded a total of nearly $500,000 in grants for wildlife habitat improvement projects. The MassWildlife Habitat Management Grant Program was developed to establish partnerships between MassWildlife and private and municipal landowners to enhance habitat and increase recreational opportunities on properties across the state. This year, funds provided through the grant program will benefit 13 wildlife habitat improvement projects, totaling 514 acres of land within the Commonwealth.
“The MassWildlife Habitat Management Grant Program is critical to the success of ongoing habitat management projects on state-managed lands and ensures a multipronged strategy to improve a variety of Massachusetts’ habitats,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Beth Card. “Public and private investment in habitat management is critical for
promoting ecological resiliency and diversity, and we are thrilled to work with this year’s grant recipients as they commit to improving wildlife habitat.”
The existing vegetation at LLNF consists of a mix of sandplain grasslands, sandplain heathlands, and coastal shrublands. In recent decades, the landscape has been invaded by Japanese Black Pine. What was just a few trees decades ago are now large stands encroaching on valuable sandplain grassland habitat, which is host to a multitude of rare and threatened plants and animals. Managing these trees is a high priority for LLNF as these pines are fire hazards, human health hazards such as dead snags, and an ecological issue – a threat to native biodiversity.
On Eel Point Road, this project complements earlier pine management at LLNF. By removing the invasive Japanese Black Pines, we are opening up the landscape and promoting the growth and expansion of the grasslands and native heathlands beneath.
“It is very exciting to receive this grant from MassWildlife for habitat management at the Linda Loring Nature Foundation. One of our strategic goals is to mitigate threats to our native biodiversity by removing non-native, invasive species and enhancing native grassland habitat restoration. This furthers the research and conservation at the LLNF,” says Kitty Pochman, Executive Director of the Linda Loring Nature Foundation.
Dr. Sarah Bois, Director of Research and Education at LLNF, points out that this restoration work is also a climate resiliency project. “Relative to most other habitats, healthy and diverse native grasslands may be more resilient to drought and other severe weather events expected to increase with climate change. The non-native invasive pines, which we are removing, have become a fire hazard across the property. In removing this invasive, we are mitigating for potential effects of climate change and further reducing fire hazards.”
Within the treatment areas, there are also over 140 recorded individuals of the State-listed species of special concern, Sandplain blue-eyed grass (Sisyrinchium fuscatum). This species requires open, sandplain grassland and heathland habitat. The Japanese Black Pine trees encroach on these populations, crowding and shading them out.
“MassWildlife restores and manages habitats to help conserve the great diversity of wildlife and plants found in the Commonwealth,” said Mark Tisa, MassWildlife Director. “In addition to MassWildlife’s habitat management activities, these funded projects will improve declining habitats that provide homes for our most vulnerable wildlife while also enhancing everyone’s ability to connect with nature.”
The LLNF will begin management this winter when it is favorable to remove Japanese Black Pines. To see the management progress or to find out more information about land management at the Linda Loring Nature Foundation, go to llnf.org or contact the Director of Research and Education, Dr. Sarah Bois.