Restoring the longleaf pine ecosystem: The role of fire

  • Authors: Barnett, James P.
  • Publication Year: 2002
  • Publication Series: Miscellaneous Publication
  • Source: In: Proceedings of the 2001 National Silviculture Workshop, May 7-10, Hood River, OR., eds. Parker, Sharon; Hummel, Susan S., p. 33-37

Abstract

Longleaf pine (Pinus palustris Mill.) ecosystems once occupied 90 million acres in the southern United States coastal plain. These firedependent ecosystems dominated a wide range of coastal plain sites, including dry uplands and low, wet flatlands. Today, less than 4 million acres remain, but these ecosystems represent significant components of the region's cultural heritage, ecological diversity, timber resources, and present essential habitat for many animal and plant communities. This ecosystem is also the favorite habitat for endangered species like the red-cockaded woodpecker and the gopher tortoise. Fire was an essential component of the original longleaf pine ecosystems. The landscapes were characterized by open stands of mature longleaf pine with a savanna-like understory that was biologically diverse. Recent improvements in the technology to artificially regenerate longleaf pine have stimulated interest in restoring longleaf pine on many sites. Long-term studies show that the frequent use of fire hastens initiation of height growth, reduces undesirable competing vegetation, and stimulates growth and development of the rich understory. Fire is, therefore, an important element in establishing the species and is critical to achieve and maintain the biologically diverse conditions that are characteristic of the ecosystem.

  • Citation: Barnett, James P. 2002. Restoring the longleaf pine ecosystem: The role of fire. In: Proceedings of the 2001 National Silviculture Workshop, May 7-10, Hood River, OR., eds. Parker, Sharon; Hummel, Susan S., p. 33-37
  • Keywords: Pinus palustris, regeneration, biological diversity, plantation establishment
  • Posted Date: April 1, 1980
  • Modified Date: August 22, 2006
  • Requesting Print Publications

    Publication requests are subject to availability. Fiscal responsibility limits the hardcopies of publications we produce and distribute. Electronic versions of publications may be downloaded, distributed and printed.

    Please make any requests at pubrequest@fs.fed.us.

    Publication Notes

    • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.
    • Our online publications are scanned and captured using Adobe Acrobat. During the capture process some typographical errors may occur. Please contact the SRS webmaster if you notice any errors which make this publication unusable.
    • To view this article, download the latest version of Adobe Acrobat Reader.