Restoring longleaf pine forest ecosystems in the southern U.S
Longleaf pine (Pinus palustris) ecosystems are native to nine states of the southern region of the U.S. Longleaf pine can grow on a variety of site types including wet flatwoods and savannas along the Atlantic and Gulf coastal plain, higher droughty sand deposits from the fall line sandhills to the central ridge of Florida (Stout and Marion 1993), and the montane slopes and ridges of Alabama and northwest Georgia up to 600 m elevation (Boyer 1990b). This region has a humid subtropical climate (Bailey 1995). Maximum July temperatures average 29°C to > 35°C while minima during January range from 0 to 13°C. The mean annual precipitation is 1,040 to 1,750 mm and is well distributed through the year. The growing season is comparatively long, ranging from 300+ days in Florida to 220 days along the northern limit of longleaf. During the late summer and fall, hurricanes can develop over the Atlantic Ocean, move westward, and impact coastal plain forests. Such tropical storms are one of the principal large-scale disturbance agents for longleaf pine forests growing near the seacoast.