Longleaf pine

The longleaf pine (Pinus palustris) is a pine native to the Southeastern United States, found along the coastal plain from East Texas to southern Maryland, extending into northern and central Florida.[2] It reaches a height of 30–35 m (98–115 ft) and a diameter of 0.7 m (28 in). In the past, before extensive logging, they reportedly grew to 47 m (154 ft) with a diameter of 1.2 m (47 in). The tree is a cultural symbol of the Southern United States, being the official state tree of Alabama and the unofficial state tree of North Carolina.

Longleaf pine
Pinus palustris UGA1
Longleaf pine (Pinus palustris) forest
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Pinophyta
Class: Pinopsida
Order: Pinales
Family: Pinaceae
Genus: Pinus
Subgenus: P. subg. Pinus
Section: P. sect. Trifoliae
Subsection: P. subsect. Australes
P. palustris
Binomial name
Pinus palustris
Pinus palustris range map


The bark is thick, reddish-brown, and scaly. The leaves are dark green and needle-like, and occur in bundles of three. They often are twisted and 20–45 cm (7.9–17.7 in) in length. It is one of the two Southeastern U.S. pines with long needles, the other being slash pine.

Longleaf Pine01
Longleaf pine needles from a 30-m specimen near Tallahassee, Florida

The cones, both female seed cones (ovulate strobili) and male pollen cones (staminate strobili), are initiated during the growing season before buds emerge. Pollen cones begin forming in their buds in July, while seed conelets are formed during a relatively short period of time in August. Pollination occurs early the following spring, with the male cones 3–8 cm (1.2–3.1 in) long. The female (seed) cones mature in about 20 months from pollination; when mature, they are yellow-brown in color, 15–25 cm (5.9–9.8 in) long, and 5–7 cm (2.0–2.8 in) broad, opening to 12 cm (4.7 in), and have a small, but sharp, downward-pointing spine on the middle of each scale. The seeds are 7–9 mm (0.28–0.35 in) long, with a 25–40 mm (0.98–1.57 in) wing.

Longleaf pine takes 100 to 150 years to become full size and may live to be 500 years old. When young, they grow a long taproot, which usually is 2–3 m (6.6–9.8 ft) long; by maturity, they have a wide spreading lateral root system with several deep 'sinker' roots. They grow on well-drained, usually sandy soil, characteristically in pure stands.[3] Longleaf pine also is known as being one of several species grouped as a southern yellow pine[4] or longleaf yellow pine, and in the past as pitch pine (a name dropped as it caused confusion with pitch pine, Pinus rigida).


The species epithet palustris is Latin for "of the marsh" and indicates its common habitat.[5] The scientific name meaning "of marshes" is a misunderstanding on the part of Philip Miller, who described the species, after seeing longleaf pine forests with temporary winter flooding.


Grassstage 8236
Longleaf pine: 'grass stage' seedling, near Georgetown, South Carolina

Longleaf pine is highly pyrophytic (resistant to wildfire). Periodic natural wildfire selects for this species by killing other trees, leading to open longleaf pine forests or savannas. New seedlings do not appear at all tree-like and resemble a dark-green fountain of needles. This form is called the grass stage. During this stage, which lasts for 5–12 years, vertical growth is very slow, and the tree may take a number of years simply to grow ankle high. After that, it makes a growth spurt, especially if no tree canopy is above it. In the grass stage, it is very resistant to low intensity fires because the terminal bud is protected from lethal heating by the tightly packed needles. While relatively immune to fire at this stage, the plant is quite appealing to feral pigs; the early settlers' habit of releasing swine into the woodlands to feed may have been partly responsible for the decline of the species.

Longleaf pine forests are rich in biodiversity. They are well-documented for their high levels of plant diversity, in groups including sedges, grasses, carnivorous plants, and orchids.[6][7] These forests also provide habitat for gopher tortoises, which as keystone species, dig burrows that provide habitat for hundreds of other species of animals. The red-cockaded woodpecker is dependent on mature pine forests and is now endangered as a result of this decline. Longleaf pine seeds are large and nutritious, forming a significant food source for birds (notably the brown-headed nuthatch) and other wildlife. Nine salamander species and 26 frog species are characteristic of pine savannas, along with 56 species of reptiles, 13 of which could be considered specialists on this habitat.[8]

The Red Hills Region of Florida and Georgia is home to some of the best-preserved stands of longleaf pines. These forests have been burned regularly for many decades to encourage bobwhite quail habitat in private hunting plantations.


Pinus palustris Pengo
Pinus palustris

Vast forests of longleaf pine once were present along the southeastern Atlantic coast and Gulf Coast of North America, as part of the eastern savannas. These forests were the source of naval stores - resin, turpentine, and timber - needed by merchants and the navy for their ships. They have been cutover since for timber and usually replaced with faster-growing loblolly pine and slash pine, for agriculture, and for urban and suburban development. Due to this deforestation and overharvesting, only about 3% of the original longleaf pine forest remains, and little new is planted. Longleaf pine is available, however, at many nurseries within its range; the southernmost known point of sale is in Lake Worth, Florida.

The yellow, resinous wood is used for lumber and pulp. Boards cut years ago from virgin timber were very wide, up to 1 m (3.3 ft), and a thriving salvage business obtains these boards from demolition projects to be reused as flooring in upscale homes.

The extremely long needles are popular for use in the ancient craft of coiled basket making.

The stumps and taproots of old trees become saturated with resin and will not rot. Farmers sometimes find old buried stumps in fields, even in some that were cleared a century ago, and these usually are dug up and sold as fatwood, "fat lighter", or "lighter wood", which is in demand as kindling for fireplaces, wood stoves, and barbecue pits. In old-growth pine, the heartwood of the bole is often saturated in the same way. When boards are cut from the fat lighter wood, they are very heavy and will not rot, but buildings constructed of them are quite flammable and make extremely hot fires.

Cultural significance

The longleaf pine is the official state tree of Alabama.[9] And although all pines are technically the official state tree of North Carolina, it is commonly believed to be the official state tree of North Carolina due to it being referenced by name in the first line of the official North Carolina State Toast as well as the state's highest honor being named the "Order of the Long Leaf Pine".[10][11]

Native range, restoration, and protection

Before European settlement, longleaf pine forest dominated as much as 90,000,000 acres (360,000 km2) stretching from Virginia south to Florida and west to East Texas. Its range was defined by the frequent widespread fires that occurred throughout the southeast. In the late 19th century, these virgin timber stands were "among the most sought-after timber trees in the country." This rich ecosystem now has been relegated to less than 5% of its presettlement range due to clear-cutting practices:

As they stripped the woods of their trees, loggers left mounds of flammable debris that frequently fueled catastrophic fires, destroying both the remaining trees and seedlings. The exposed earth left behind by clear-cutting operations was highly susceptible to erosion, and nutrients were washed from the already porous soils. This further destroyed the natural seeding process. At the peak of the timber cutting in the 1890s and first decade of the new century, the longleaf pine forests of the Sandhills were providing millions of board feet of timber each year. The timber cutters gradually moved across the South; by the 1920s, most of the "limitless" virgin longleaf pine forests were gone.

In "pine barrens" most of the day. Low, level, sandy tracts; the pines wide apart; the sunny spaces between full of beautiful abounding grasses, liatris, long, wand-like solidago, saw palmettos, etc., covering the ground in garden style. Here I sauntered in delightful freedom, meeting none of the cat-clawed vines, or shrubs, of the alluvial bottoms. – John Muir

Efforts are being made to restore longleaf pine ecosystems within its natural range. Some groups such as the Longleaf Alliance are actively promoting research, education, and management of the longleaf pine.[12]

The USDA offers cost-sharing and technical assistance to private landowners for longleaf restoration through the NRCS Longleaf Pine Initiative. Similar programs are available through most state forestry agencies in the longleaf's native range. In August 2009, the Alabama Forestry Commission received $1.757 million in stimulus money to restore longleaf pines in state forests.[13]

Four large core areas within the range of the species provide the opportunity to protect the biological diversity of the coastal plain and to restore wilderness areas east of the Mississippi River.[14] Each of these four (Eglin Air Force Base: 187,000+ ha; Apalachicola National Forest: 228,000+ ha; Okefenokee-Osceola: 289,000+ ha; De Soto National Forest: 200,000+ ha) have nearby lands that offer the potential to expand the total protected territory for each area to well beyond 500,000 ha. These areas would provide the opportunity not only to restore forest stands, but also to restore populations of native vertebrate animals threatened by landscape fragmentation.

Notable eccentric populations exist within the Uwharrie National Forest in the central Piedmont region of North Carolina. These have survived owing to relative inaccessibility, and in one instance, intentional protection in the 20th century by a private landowner (a property now owned and conserved by the LandTrust for Central North Carolina).

Naturally regenerated longleaf pines in DeSoto National Forest, Mississippi

The United States Forest Service is conducting prescribed burning programs in the 258,864-acre Francis Marion National Forest, located outside of Charleston, South Carolina. They are hoping to increase the longleaf pine forest type to 44,700 acres (181 km2) by 2017 and 53,500 acres (217 km2) in the long term. In addition to longleaf restoration, prescribed burning will enhance the endangered red-cockaded woodpeckers' preferred habitat of open, park-like stands, provide habitat for wildlife dependent on grass-shrub habitat, which is very limited, and reduce the risk of damaging wildfires.[15]

Since the 1960s, longleaf restoration has been ongoing on almost 95,000 acres of state and federal land in the sandhills region of South Carolina, between the piedmont and coastal plain. The region is characterized by deep, infertile sands deposited by a prehistoric sea, with generally arid conditions. By the 1930s, most of the native longleaf had been logged, and the land was heavily eroded. Between 1935 and 1939, the federal government purchased large portions of this area from local landowners as a relief measure under the Resettlement Administration. These landowners were resettled on more fertile land elsewhere. Today, the South Carolina Sand Hills State Forest comprises about half of the acreage, and half is owned by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service as the adjacent Carolina Sandhills National Wildlife Refuge. At first, restoration of forest cover was the goal. Fire suppression was practiced until the 1960s, when prescribed fire was introduced on both the state forest[16] and the Sandhills NWR[17][18] as part of the restoration of the longleaf/wiregrass ecosystem.

Nokuse Plantation is a 53,000-acre private nature preserve located around 100 miles east of Pensacola, Florida. The preserve was established by M.C. Davis, a wealthy philanthropist who made his fortune buying and selling land and mineral rights, and who has spent $90 million purchasing land for the preserve, primarily from timber companies. One of its main goals is the restoration of longleaf pine forest, to which end he has had 8 million longleaf pine seedlings planted on the land.[19]

A 2009 study by the National Wildlife Federation says that longleaf pine forests will be particularly well adapted to environmental changes caused by climate disruption. [20]

See also


  1. ^ Farjon, A. (2013). "Pinus palustris". The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2013: e.T39068A2886222. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2013-1.RLTS.T39068A2886222.en. Retrieved 15 January 2018.
  2. ^ "Longleaf Pine Range Map". The Longleaf Alliance. Retrieved 25 November 2015.
  3. ^ Richard Edwin McArdle (1930). The Yield of Douglas Fir in the Pacific Northwest. U.S. Department of Agriculture. p. 5. Longleaf pine in both the virgin forest and second growth is characteristically a tree of pure stand—one in which 80 per cent or more of the trees are of a single species.
  4. ^ Moore, Gerry; Kershner, Bruce; Craig Tufts; Daniel Mathews; Gil Nelson; Spellenberg, Richard; Thieret, John W.; Terry Purinton; Block, Andrew (2008). National Wildlife Federation Field Guide to Trees of North America. New York: Sterling. p. 75. ISBN 978-1-4027-3875-3.
  5. ^ Archibald William Smith A Gardener's Handbook of Plant Names: Their Meanings and Origins, p. 258, at Google Books
  6. ^ Peet, R. K. and D. J Allard. 1993. Longleaf pine vegetation of the southern Atlantic and eastern Gulf coast regions: a preliminary classification. pp. 45–81. In S. M. Hermann (ed.) Proceedings of the Tall Timbers Fire Ecology Conference. No. 18. The Longleaf Pine Ecosystem: Ecology, Restoration, and Management. Florida: Tall Timbers Research Station.
  7. ^ Keddy, P.A., L. Smith, D.R. Campbell, M. Clark and G. Montz. 2006. Patterns of herbaceous plant diversity in southeastern Louisiana pine savannas. Applied Vegetation Science 9:17-26.
  8. ^ Means, D. Bruce. 2006. Vertebrate faunal diversity in longleaf pine savannas. Pages 155-213 in S. Jose, E. Jokela and D. Miller (eds.) Longleaf Pine Ecosystems: Ecology, Management and Restoration. Springer, New York. xii + 438 pp.
  9. ^ "Southern Longleaf Pine". Official Symbols and Emblems of Alabama. Retrieved 2009-04-04.
  10. ^ "§ 145-3". www.ncleg.net.
  11. ^ North Carolina General Statutes § 149‑2 http://www.ncleg.net/enactedlegislation/statutes/html/bysection/chapter_149/gs_149-2.html
  12. ^ "Longleaf Pine Forests and Longleaf Alliance Home". Longleaf Alliance. Retrieved 2009-04-04.
  13. ^ "Stimulus to fund repopulation of longleaf pines in Alabama". The Birmingham News. Retrieved 2009-09-01.
  14. ^ Keddy, P.A. 2009. Thinking big: A conservation vision for the Southeastern coastal plain of North America. Southeastern Naturalist 8: 213-226.
  15. ^ "Fiscal Year 2006 Monitoring and Evaluation Annual Report" (PDF). Francis Marion National Forest. United States Forest Service. 2007-09-26. Retrieved 2009-06-16.
  16. ^ "SCFC Sand Hills". www.state.sc.us.
  17. ^ "Carolina Sandhills NWR History".
  18. ^ "Refuge to Begin Conducting Prescribed Burns in February" (PDF). United States Fish and Wildlife Service. Retrieved 2011-12-14.
  19. ^ Block, Melissa (June 17, 2015). "Gambler-Turned-Conservationist Devotes Fortune To Florida Nature Preserve". All Things Considered. NPR. Retrieved 18 June 2015.
  20. ^ "Restoring roots of Southeast: Environmental benefits, quality of wood touted". The (Charleston, SC) Post and Courier. 2009-12-12. Retrieved 2009-12-12.

Further reading

Atlantic coastal plain upland longleaf pine woodland

The Atlantic coastal plain upland longleaf pine woodland is plant community found on the southern Atlantic coastal plain, in the states of southern Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and northeastern Florida.

These woodlands are dominated by longleaf pine (Pinus palustris) and occur on uplands and on the higher parts of upland-wetland mosaics. They are subject to frequent fires. Soils are well- to excessively drained. Scrub oaks such as turkey oak (Quercus laevis) and bluejack oak (Quercus incana) are often in the understory. The herbaceous layer is dominated by grasses, particularly wiregrass: (Aristida stricta) in the north and (Aristida beyrichiana) in the south. These woodlands may once have been the most widespread plant community within their range.

Blackwater Ecological Preserve

The Blackwater Ecological Preserve is a 318-acre (129 ha) Natural Area Preserve located in the area of Zuni, Virginia and owned by Old Dominion University. It is home to flatwoods of longleaf pine and turkey oak and savannas of longleaf pine, two of the rarest plant communities in Virginia. The longleaf pine savanna is the northernmost natural occurrence of such a plant community in the United States. Research on longleaf pine survival rates are currently being performed by Old Dominion University.

The preserve is open to public visitation only through prior arrangement with Old Dominion University.

Chub Sandhill Natural Area Preserve

Chub Sandhill Natural Area Preserve is a 1,066-acre (4.31 km2) Natural Area Preserve located in Sussex County, Virginia. It contains a group of low sandhills and riparian wetlands along the Nottoway River. Much of the region's original vegetation has been lost, but the preserve supports such remnants as queen's delight, golden puccoon, and hoary scurf-pea. Sand post oak, rare in Virginia, may also be found in the woods, as may a number of native legumes.The preserve's natural communities were historically maintained through a naturally frequent fire regime, typical of longleaf pine ecosystems that are more common to the south. To maintain the preserve's unique assemblage of species, management has incorporated regular prescribed burning since 1998. Intentional re-introduction of longleaf pine began in 2007, replacing 320 acres (1.3 km2) of old fields and loblolly pine plantations. Seedlings used for reintroduction are collected from native stands at Virginia's South Quay Sandhills Natural Area Preserve.The preserve is owned and maintained by the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation. Public access is permitted during daylight hours, facilitated by improvements such as a parking area, wildlife viewing platform, and trails.

Cydia ingens

Cydia ingens, the longleaf pine seedworm moth, is a moth of the Tortricidae family. It is found in southeastern North America.

The caterpillars (longleaf pine seedworms) feed on the seeds of Pinus palustris.

De Soto National Forest

De Soto National Forest, named for 16th-century explorer Hernando de Soto, is 518,587 acres (810 sq mi; 2,099 km2) of pine forests in southern Mississippi. It is one of the most important protected areas for the biological diversity of the Gulf Coast ecoregion of North America.

It is a nationally important site for protection of longleaf pine savannas, pine flatwoods, and longleaf pine forests. More than 90 percent of this ecosystem type has been lost in the United States. The wet pine savannas support rare and endangered plant and animal species, such as the orchid Calopogon multiflorus, gopher frogs, and gopher tortoises. These habitats also have large numbers of carnivorous plants, particularly pitcher plants; Buttercup Flats has an international reputation in this regard.

This National Forest also offers year-round opportunities for outdoor activities including camping, canoeing, bird-watching, photography, hunting, fishing, and more. There are two nationally significant wilderness areas within DeSoto: Black Creek Wilderness and Leaf River Wilderness. Black Creek is a popular stream for canoeing, camping, and fishing, and is Mississippi's only designated National Wild and Scenic River. Two National Recreational Trails, the Black Creek Trail and Tuxachanie Trail, offer more than 60 miles (96.6 km) of hiking opportunities.

The forest is headquartered in Jackson, as are all six National Forests in Mississippi. The local ranger district office is in Wiggins, which is surrounded by the National Forest on three sides: north, east, and south.

De Soto National Forest is located between Hattiesburg and Gulfport, and can be easily accessed by U.S. Highway 49 and U.S. Highway 98. It lies in parts of ten counties. In descending order of land area they are Perry, Wayne, Harrison, Forrest, Stone, Greene, Jones, Jackson, George, and Pearl River counties.

Dead Lakes State Recreation Area

Dead Lakes State Recreation Area is a Florida protected area located 1 mile (1.6 km) north of Wewahitchka off Florida State Road 71 and southwest of Tallahassee. It was formerly a Florida State Park and originally a fish hatchery operated by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission from 1936 until 1951. Activities include hiking, fishing, boating, camping, and wildlife viewing. Among the wildlife of the park are foxes, cotton rats, raccoons, opossums, white-tailed deer, rabbits, skunk, beavers, turtles, snakes and alligators. A variety of trees can be found in the park, including longleaf pine, magnolia and bald cypress trees. Amenities include a boat ramp, fresh water trails, nature trails, and a camping area. The recreation area is open from 8:00 am until sunset year-round.


Flatwoods, pineywoods, pine savannas and longleaf pine-wiregrass ecosystem are terms that refer to an ecological community in the Southeastern coastal plain of North America. Flatwoods are an ecosystem maintained by wildfire or prescribed fire and are dominated by longleaf pine (Pinus palustris), and slash pine (Pinus elliotii) in the tree canopy and saw palmetto (Serenoa repens), gallberry (Ilex glabra) and other flammable evergreen shrubs in the understory, along with a high diversity of herb species. It was once one of the dominant ecosystem types of southeastern North America [1]. Although grasses and pines are characteristic of this system, the precise composition changes from west to east, that is, from Texas to Florida. In Louisiana, savannas even differ between the east and west side of the Mississippi River. The key factor maintaining this habitat type is recurring fire. Without fire, the habitat is rapidly invaded by other species of woody plants.

A number of rare and endangered animals are typical of this habitat including red-cockaded woodpeckers (Picoides borealis), gopher tortoises (Gopherus polyphemus), frosted flatwoods salamanders (Ambystoma cingulatum), and striped newts (Notophthalmus perstriatus). Many rare and usual herbaceous plants are found here, particularly orchids (e.g. Calopogon species, Pogonia ophioglossoides), sedges (e.g. Rhynchospora species) and carnivorous plants (e.g. Sarracenia species).A second key factor is moisture. Overall, wet pine savannas have more species than pine savannas, and the distribution of each species within a savanna is intimately connected with soil moisture regimes. Temporary ponds, and seepage areas, are therefore a critical control on plant species composition. Orchids and pitcher plants, for example, are associated with wetter locations. But even these wetter locations burn during dry periods, allowing regeneration of species of pitcher plant and sundew.Pineywoods are characterized by low basal area and large widely spaced mature pine. Historically, the flatwoods were dominated by longleaf pine, which can live to be 500 years old. Large scale overharvesting in conjunction with detrimental silvicultural practices like replacement with faster growing loblolly pine has drastically reduced the range of the longleaf pine ecosystem. Longleaf requires frequent fires, ideally every 1–3 years, which prevent invasion of the habitat by other tree species. Decades of fire exclusion in the Southeast have contributed to the decline of this community type. However, with the restoration of fire, and natural flooding regimes, it is possible to restore small areas of habitat [2], and with concerted effort, several large wilderness areas could still be restored east of the Mississippi River. Some of the largest remaining areas of this habitat type are found in De Soto National Forest, Eglin Air Force Base, and Apalachicola National Forest.

Florida longleaf pine sandhill

The Florida longleaf pine sandhill is a forest system found on sandhills in the coastal plains of northern Florida, ranging from the panhandle to the central peninsula. Particular examples can be found in Ocala National Forest and Eglin Air Force Base.

These forests consist of stands of longleaf pine (Pinus palustris) on very well-drained, sandy hills. The stands are maintained by frequent fires. Turkey oak (Quercus laevis), myrtle oak (Quercus myrtifolia), and gopher apple (Licania michauxii) are common in the understory; wiregrass (Aristida beyrichiana) makes up the ground layer.

Florida scrub

Florida sand pine scrub is an endangered subtropical forest ecoregion found throughout Florida in the United States. It is found on coastal and inland sand ridges and is characterized by an evergreen xeromorphic plant community dominated by shrubs and dwarf oaks. Because the low-nutrient sandy soils do not retain moisture, the ecosystem is effectively an arid one. Wildfires infrequently occur in the Florida scrub. Most of the annual rainfall (about 135 cm or 53 in) falls in summer. It is endangered by residential, commercial and agricultural development, with the largest remaining block in and around the Ocala National Forest. Lake Wales Ridge National Wildlife Refuge also holds a high proportion of remaining scrub habitat, while the Archbold Biological Station near Lake Placid contains about 20 km2 (7.7 sq mi) of scrub habitat and sponsors biological research on it.

Geneva State Forest

Geneva State Forest is an Alabama state forest in Geneva County, Alabama in the United States. The forest is 7,120 acres (2,880 ha) and sits at an elevation of 210 feet (64 m). It is Alabama's largest state forest. According to the Alabama Forestry Commission the primary objective of the state forest is to provide timber for the lumber industry and the secondary objectives are to provide habitats for wildlife and recreational opportunities for people. The forest is open for year-round recreation including hunting, fishing, hiking and camping.

Heart pine

Heart Pine refers to the heartwood of the pine tree, which is the non-living center of the tree trunk, while the sapwood is the outer living layer which transports nutrients.

The heartwood from the pine tree, heart pine, is preferred by woodworkers and builders over the sapwood, due to its strength, hardness and golden red coloration. The longleaf pine, the favored tree for heart pine, nearly went extinct due to logging. Before the 18th century, in the United States, longleaf pine forests, covered approximately 30-60 million acres along the coastal plain from Virginia's southern tip to eastern Texas. These pine trees, 80 to 120 feet tall, require 100 to 150 years to become full size and can live up to 500 years. An inch of heart pine requires 30 years growth. Due to deforestation and over-harvesting since colonial days, only about 3% of the original Longleaf Pine forest remains.The source of much of the available heart pine found on the market is longleaf pine from old buildings. Before 1900 it was a source for poles, pilings, posts, sawlogs, flooring, plywood, pulpwood and naval stores (tapped for turpentine).Currently heart pine for building and woodworking is procured by reclaiming old lumber and recovering logs, felled pre-1900, from rivers.

Longleaf pine ecosystem

The longleaf pine ecosystem is a diverse climax temperate coniferous forest habitat that includes many rare plant and animal species found within the southeastern United States, and is one of the most biodiverse in North America. Once a dominant ecosystem of the southeastern portion of the United States, it now occupies less than a quarter of the original range. Degrading of the ecosystem is partially due to excessive timber harvesting, urbanization, and fire exclusion. Although the ecosystem is heavily fragmented in present time, it still carries a great diversity of plant and animal species, many of which are endemic. The greatest current concern for the ecosystem is the continuation and health of the overall plant and animal species which reside within the area. The use of a range of techniques, including planting longleaf seedlings, introducing prescribed burning regimens, managing native ground cover, and controlling invasive species within the ecosystem can help to preserve this threatened ecosystem.

Order of the Long Leaf Pine

The Order of the Long Leaf Pine, created in 1964, is an honor that can be granted in the U.S. state of North Carolina. As of 2009, it was believed the Order had been awarded to more than 15,000 people.The Order of the Long Leaf Pine is among the most prestigious awards presented by the Governor of North Carolina. The Order of the Long Leaf Pine is presented to individuals who have a proven record of extraordinary service to the state. Contributions to their communities, extra effort in their careers, and many years of service to their organizations are some of the guidelines by which recipients are selected for this award. The honor is most often presented when a person retires.

A state employee can be awarded with the order if the employee has contributed more than 30 years of dedicated and enthusiastic service to the state of North Carolina.The Order is similar to honors bestowed in other states, such as the Kentucky Colonel and South Carolina's Order of the Palmetto. The Order began as a symbolic honor for visiting dignitaries, but later it became an honor for notable North Carolinians. Although sometimes called the state's highest civilian honor in an order of precedence, that distinction legally belongs to the North Carolina Award. After the North Carolina Award and the Order of the Long Leaf Pine, the next award in order of precedence is the Old North State Award and then the Cardinal Award, all of which are bestowed by the Governor of North Carolina.

Pine Belt (Mississippi)

The Pine Belt, also known as the "Piney Woods", is a region in Southeast Mississippi. The region gets its name from the longleaf pine trees that are abundant in the region.

Pinus × sondereggeri

Pinus × sondereggeri is the only named southern pine hybrid. Common names include Sonderegger pine and bastard pine. It is a naturally occurring cross between loblolly pine (P. taeda) and longleaf pine (P. palustris). It was originally described by H. H. Chapman (1922), who named it after its discoverer, V. H. Sonderegger, a state forester of Louisiana. This pine usually occurs singly or in small groups where both loblolly and longleaf pines overlap in range. Because the flowering of both parental trees usually occurs at the same time of year, no phenological barrier exists, thus the two freely cross.

Tree characteristics are normally intermediate between loblolly and longleaf. Sonderegger pine is not resistant to fusiform rust like its parent, longleaf pine. Because this hybrid pine possesses heavy limbs and long-needled foliage like the longleaf pine, one may confuse Sonderegger pine with longleaf pine. However, the striped brown bud of Sonderegger pine is a distinguishing characteristic, as longleaf possesses a white bud. Also, intermediate in size, the cone is armed similarly to a cone of the loblolly pine. Because no grass stage exists for this hybrid, it has significant height growth during the first year. Thus, it is easily detected in uniform plantings of longleaf pine.

Also called "bastard pine", Sonderegger pine may have qualities superior to those of its parents. Differences in wood properties are not significant when compared to random samples of the two parent species. Tracheid length might be slightly shorter than either parent, though tracheid length in southern pines usually does not differ significantly.


A sandhill is a type of ecological community or xeric wildfire-maintained ecosystem. It is not the same as a sand dune. It features very short fire return intervals, one to five years. Without fire, sandhills undergo ecological succession and become more oak dominated.

Entisols are the typical sandhill soil, deep well-drained and nutrient poor. In Florida, sandhills receive 130 cm (51 in) cm of rainfall per year, just like the more hydric ecosystems surrounding them. Sandhills are xeric because they have poor water holding capacity.

Dominant vegetation includes longleaf pine (Pinus palustris), American turkey oak (Quercus laevis), and wiregrass (Aristida stricta). A number of rare animals are typical of this habitat including the gopher tortoise (Gopherus polyphemus), red-cockaded woodpecker (Picoides borealis), Sherman's fox squirrel (Sciurus niger shermani), and striped newt (Notophthalmus perstriatus). Invasive species that are a problem on sandhills include Cogongrass (Imperata cylindrica), camphor laurels (Cinnamomum camphora), and Natal grass (Melinis repens).

Sandhills (Carolina)

The Sandhills or Carolina Sandhills is a 15-60 km wide physiographic region within the U.S. Atlantic Coastal Plain province, along the updip (inland) margin of this province in the States of North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia. The extent of the Carolina Sandhills is shown clearly in maps of the ecoregions of North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia.Sand Hills cottage architecture is a style that developed in this area in the early- to mid-1800s; it is a modified form of Greek Revival architecture. The people of the 'Piney Woods' that once covered the Sandhills and Inner Banks were known as "Goobers" around the time of the Civil War.

Southeastern conifer forests

The Southeastern conifer forests are a tropical and subtropical coniferous forest ecoregion of the southeastern United States. It is the largest conifer forest ecoregion east of the Mississippi River.

Yellow pine

In ecology and forestry, yellow pine refers to a number of conifer species which tend to grow in similar plant communities and yield similar strong wood. In the Western United States, yellow pine refers to Jeffrey pine or ponderosa pine. In the Southern United States, yellow pine refers to longleaf pine, shortleaf pine, slash pine, or loblolly pine. In the United Kingdom, yellow pine refers to Eastern white pine or Scots pine.

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