Presettlement Pinus taeda in the Mississippi Valley Alluvial Plain of the Monroe County, Arkansas area
Loblolly pine (Pinus taeda) is the most dominant conifer in the southeastern United States (Baker and Langdon, 1990). However, loblolly pine was conspicuously absent from virtually the entire Mississippi Valley Alluvial Plain during presettlement times. A map (Fig. 1) of the native distribution of loblolly from Baker and Langdon (1990) identifies 2 exceptions to this gap-a narrow strip of land (Macon Ridge) in northeastern Louisiana corresponding to Quaternary-period braided stream terraces left by the ancestral Arkansas River and a small pocket of braided stream terraces from the ancestral Missouri and Mississippi rivers in Arkansas (Saucier, 1974). Unlike Macon Ridge (a noticeably elevated landform), the Arkansas terraces are flat to very gently rolling plains subject to frequent, long-term and large-scale inundation (at least before modern drainage and flood control projects).