Looking for Longleaf
When the first European settlers arrived in the Southeast, the woodlands they encountered were quite different from what we see today. Instead of crowded stands of hardwood trees choked with bushes and vines, they saw vast expanses of tall longleaf pines, widely spaced and with a ground carpeting of grasses and wildflowers.
It’s estimated that longleaf pine forests once covered more than ninety million acres in the Southeast, stretching from southern Virginia to eastern Texas. These beautiful woodlands, which supported a complex ecosystem of animal and plant life, gradually diminished owing to logging, the naval stores industry (tar and turpentine), and fire suppression. (The longleaf thrived under a regime of periodic lightning-induced fires and controlled burns, which removed accumulated clutter in the understory.) Now only a little more than three million acres remain.
If you would like to learn more about the longleaf, as well as current efforts to restore longleaf forests throughout the Southeast, the Richland Library has several books you will enjoy. Be sure also to check out the websites of the Longleaf Alliance and America’s Longleaf Restoration Initiative.
Bland L. Says:
Engaging natural history of the longleaf, its decline, and restoration projects now under way. Earley also provides a descriptive account of his visits to various sites where longleaf has been reintroduced.
Amazon Amazon Says:
Covering 92 million acres from Virginia to Texas, the longleaf pine ecosystem was, in its prime, one of the most extensive and biologically diverse ecosystems in North America more...
Covering 92 million acres from Virginia to Texas, the longleaf pine ecosystem was, in its prime, one of the most extensive and biologically diverse ecosystems in North America. Today these magnificent forests have declined to a fraction of their original extent, threatening such species as the gopher tortoise, the red-cockaded woodpecker, and the Venus fly-trap. Conservationists have proclaimed longleaf restoration a major goal, but has it come too late?In Looking for Longleaf, Lawrence S. Earley explores the history of these forests and the astonishing biodiversity of the longleaf ecosystem, drawing on extensive research and telling the story through first-person travel accounts and interviews with foresters, ecologists, biologists, botanists, and landowners. For centuries, these vast grass-covered forests provided pasture for large cattle herds, in addition to serving as the world's greatest source of naval stores. They sustained the exploitative turpentine and lumber industries until nearly all of the virgin longleaf had vanished. Looking for Longleaf demonstrates how, in the twentieth century, forest managers and ecologists struggled to understand the special demands of longleaf and to halt its overall decline. The compelling story Earley tells here offers hope that with continued human commitment, the longleaf pine might not just survive, but once again thrive. less...
Bland L. Says:
This beautifully illustrated coffee-table book published by UNC Press last year includes several photographs of longleaf in SC, including stands in the Sand Hills State Forest near Hartsville, Hitchcock Woods in Aiken, and Georgetown County.
Amazon Amazon Says:
Longleaf forests once covered 92 million acres from Texas to Maryland to Florida. These grand old-growth pines were the "alpha tree" of the largest forest ecosystem in North more...
Longleaf forests once covered 92 million acres from Texas to Maryland to Florida. These grand old-growth pines were the "alpha tree" of the largest forest ecosystem in North America and have come to define the southern forest. But logging, suppression of fire, destruction by landowners, and a complex web of other factors reduced those forests so that longleaf is now found only on 3 million acres. Fortunately, the stately tree is enjoying a resurgence of interest, and longleaf forests are once again spreading across the South. Blending a compelling narrative by writers Bill Finch, Rhett Johnson, and John C. Hall with Beth Maynor Young's breathtaking photography, Longleaf, Far as the Eye Can See invites readers to experience the astounding beauty and significance of the majestic longleaf ecosystem. The authors explore the interactions of longleaf with other species, the development of longleaf forests prior to human contact, and the influence of the longleaf on southern culture, as well as ongoing efforts to restore these forests. Part natural history, part conservation advocacy, and part cultural exploration, this book highlights the special nature of longleaf forests and proposes ways to conserve and expand them. less...
Amazon Amazon Says:
Greenwood Plantation in the Red Hills region of southwest Georgia includes a rare one-thousand-acre stand of old-growth longleaf pine woodlands, a remnant of an ecosystem that more...
Greenwood Plantation in the Red Hills region of southwest Georgia includes a rare one-thousand-acre stand of old-growth longleaf pine woodlands, a remnant of an ecosystem that once covered close to ninety million acres across the Southeast. The Art of Managing Longleaf documents the sometimes controversial management system that not only has protected Greenwood's "Big Woods" but also has been practiced on a substantial acreage of the remnant longleaf pine woodlands in the Red Hills and other parts of the Coastal Plain. Often described as an art informed by science, the Stoddard-Neel Approach combines frequent prescribed burning, highly selective logging, a commitment to a particular woodland aesthetic, intimate knowledge of the ecosystem and its processes, and other strategies to manage the longleaf pine ecosystem in a sustainable way. The namesakes of this method are Herbert Stoddard (who developed it) and his colleague and successor, Leon Neel (who has refined it). In addition to presenting a detailed, illustrated outline of the Stoddard-Neal Approach, the book--based upon an extensive oral history project undertaken by Paul S. Sutter and Albert G. Way, with Neel as its major subject--discusses Neel's deep familial and cultural roots in the Red Hills; his years of work with Stoddard; and the formation and early years of the Tall Timbers Research Station, which Stoddard and Neel helped found in the pinelands near Tallahassee, Florida, in 1958. In their introduction, environmental historians Sutter and Way provide an overview of the longleaf ecosystem's natural and human history, and in his afterword, forest ecologist Jerry F. Franklin affirms the value of the Stoddard-Neel Approach. less...