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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, check out the following titles from our collection. Be sure also to visit the websites of the Longleaf Alliance and America’s Longleaf Restoration Initiative.


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...
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. 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...
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 A more...
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 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: Fire can be a destructive, deadly element of nature, capable of obliterating forests, destroying homes, and taking lives. Den Latham's Painting the Landscape with Fire describ more...
Amazon Says: Fire can be a destructive, deadly element of nature, capable of obliterating forests, destroying homes, and taking lives. Den Latham's Painting the Landscape with Fire describes this phenomenon but also tells a different story, one that reveals the role of fire ecology in healthy, dynamic forests. Fire is a beneficial element which allows the longleaf forests of America's Southeast to survive. In recent decades, foresters and landowners have become intensely aware of the need to "put enough fire on the ground" to preserve longleaf habitat for red-cockaded woodpeckers, quail, wild turkeys, and a host of other plants and animals. Painting the Landscape with Fire is a hands-on-primer for those who want to understand the role of fire in longleaf forests. Latham joins wildlife biologists, foresters, wildfire fighters, and others as they band and translocate endangered birds, survey snake populations, improve wildlife habitat, and conduct prescribed burns on public and private lands. Painting the Landscape with Fire explores the unique southern biosphere of longleaf forests. Throughout, Latham beautifully tells the story of the resilience of these woodlands and of the resourcefulness of those who work to see them thrive. Fire is destructive in the case of accidents, arson, or poor policy, but with the right precautions and safety measures, it is the glowing life force that these forests need. less...
Amazon

Amazon Says: The decline of bird species in a wide range of North American habitats -- forests, prairies, shrublands, mountain regions, marshes, and deserts -- has inspired two decades of more...
Amazon Says: The decline of bird species in a wide range of North American habitats -- forests, prairies, shrublands, mountain regions, marshes, and deserts -- has inspired two decades of intense scientific study of bird ecology and conservation. But for professional scientists and amateur birders alike, interpreting the results of these diverse studies is often complex and bewildering. This accessible book pulls together recent research on bird species and habitats to show how basic ecological principles apply in seemingly different situations. Robert A. Askins provides an engaging introduction to bird ecology and concepts of landscape ecology, focusing on such intriguing species as Bachman's Warbler, Red Crossbill, Mountain Plover, and Marbled Murrelet.Understanding the ancient landscapes of North America and how humans have changed them, Askins says, is essential for devising plans to protect and restore bird populations. In addition to such obvious changes to the landscape as the clearing of forests and plowing of prairies, more subtle changes also dramatically affect birds. Species may disappear when we interrupt natural disturbances by suppressing wildfires or trapping out beaver, or when we disrupt habitat with roads and housing developments. Askins challenges some of the assumptions that underlie current conservation efforts and offers concrete recommendations, based on sound ecological principles, for protecting the rich natural diversity of North America's birds. less...
Amazon
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