Restoring a legacy: longleaf pine research at the Forest Service Escambia Experimental Forest
Longleaf pine ecosystems are a distinct part of the forest landscape in the southeastern USA. These biologically diverse ecosystems, the native habitat of numerous federally listed species, once dominated more than 36.4 million ha but now occupy only 1.4 million ha of forested land in the region. The Escambia Experimental Forest was established in 1947 through a 99-year lease with the T.R. Miller Mill Company of Brewton, AL, to explore all aspects of longleaf pine management. The 1,214-ha tract in southwest Alabama constitutes a unique example of longleaf pine ecosystems in all stages of development. Long-term studies and demonstrations include stand management alternatives, growth and yield of even-aged natural stands, cone production, and fire ecology.