Hurricane Katrina winds damaged longleaf pine less than loblolly pine
Some evidence suggests that longleaf pine might be more tolerant of high winds than either slash pine (Pinus elliotii Englem.) or loblolly pine (Pinus taeda L.). We studied wind damage to these three pine species in a common garden experiment in southeast Mississippi following Hurricane Katrina, a very large, Category 3 hurricane that directly affected the stand in August 2005. The experiment, a factorial arrangement of silvicultural treatments established in 1960, included 120 plots of 100 trees each, covering about 22 ha. Following the hurricane, dbh was measured on all trees, and each tree was rated with respect to mortality from wind damage. Longleaf pine suffered less mortality (7%) than the other two species (slash pine, 14%; loblolly pine, 26%), although the differences in mortality were statistically significant only between longleaf pine and loblolly pine. Longleaf pine lost significantly fewer stems per hectare and less basal area than the two other species. Differences in mortality among species were not a function of mean plot tree height or plot density. Our analyses indicate that longleaf pine is more resistant to wind damage than loblolly pine.