The longleaf pine ecosystem of the South which once stretched from Virginia to Texas covered 90 million acres but was nearly destroyed during an impoverished era of US occupation and intense exploitation following the defeat of the independent South in the 1860s. The destruction of the great Southern forest has been largely halted and reversed. Indeed, it is slowly growing again but is still not close to its former size. Southern Company and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation recently announced a $4.6 million grant to promote the restoration of the longleaf pine on more than 11,000 acres in the Lower South with enhancement projects on another 163,000 acres of forested land.
EMISSIONS & NUCLEAR ENERGY
Southern Company is a Fortune 500 energy company based in Atlanta which serves customers in the Lower South. In 2012 The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that Southern Company coal plants located in Georgia and Alabama are the three biggest contributors to global greenhouse gases in the United States. Southern Company is researching ways to reduce its emissions. It also operates nuclear power plants which produce clean energy. While 31 States in the US have nuclear energy plants, the South leads in this area. Mississippi, Virginia, Florida and South Carolina make the list of top 10 States in which nuclear energy is the most significant source of emissions-free energy.