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“Remember that someone is sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.”
The Longleaf pine successfully colonized the southeast as the glaciers retreated after the last ice age. With its greater strength and pest resistance, along with its ability to thrive with regular, frequent fires, longleaf quickly became dominant over a vast area of close to 92 million acres.
But over the last two centuries, the longleaf pine has been almost completely decimated, covering only three million acres today.There are two primary causes of this unfortunate result. The mature longleaf pine produces the most valuable wood of all the yellow pine species. This led to continual harvesting over the years which has served a critical role in American history, economy and culture throughout the nineteenth and twentieth century. Throughout that same time period, with little knowledge and research, the longleaf was considered an extremely difficult species to successfully replant. Therefore, over the last two hundred years the longleaf has been harvested for its valuable timber, and the loblolly or slash pine species were replanted in its place. The longleaf was cut, and a different species was replanted.
There is now hope for the longleaf to not only survive but also to thrive once again. Interest in longleaf among landowners and managers is at its highest point in decades. Thanks to people like Dr. David Dickens, Professor, Forest Productivity at the Warnell School of Forestry & Natural Resources at the University of Georgia, and groups such as the Long Leaf Alliance, there is now enough research and knowledge available for landowners to overcome many of the early challenges that made replanting longleaf a challenging or risky endeavor. For a landowner today, if planned and managed properly, the longleaf is without a doubt the best and most economical pine species to plant. Here at the Woodpecker Trail Olive Farm we sustain over 100 acreas of Long Leaf pine tree that many generations will enjoy. Including in the Long Leaf plantations survival
Some of the plants and animals that live in or benefit from longleaf pines include:
From the deer that browse on the forest floor to the woodpeckers who carve their homes into the mature trees, a broad range of flora and fauna rely on the high-quality habitat that longleaf pines provide. And as a woodland owner, you can help protect that habitat—and reap significant personal and financial rewards in the process.
How valuable is longleaf wood?
The wood from a longleaf is heavier than that of other pine species. Since wood is sold on a per ton basis, more money is paid for longleaf for a given volume. Longleaf pine also produces poles, which is the highest valued timber product. By age 40-50, half of all longleaf will typically meet the utility pole standard versus loblolly which typically contains less than 15% poles. In one study 72% of longleaf were pole quality trees. So the next time someone says that money doesn’t grow on trees, tell them that the longleaf is coming back!
The Gopher Tortoise Conservation Initiative is working to permanently protect at least 65 viable gopher tortoise populations and 100,000 acres of habitat in Georgia by 2020. https://gophertortoiseconservationinitiative.com/
Check out this great video