Restoring longleaf pine forest ecosystems in the southern United States


Longleafpine (Pinus palustris) forests were historically one of the most extensive ecosystems in North America, covering 38 million ha along the coastal plain from Texas to Virginia and extending into central Florida and the Piedmont and mountains of Alabama and Georgia. Throughout its domain. longleaf pine occurred in forests, woodlands and savannas on a variety of sites ranging from wet flatwoods to xeric sandhills and rocky mountain ridges. In the western coastal plain. longleaf pine understories are dominated by bluestem grasses (Andropogon spp. and Schizachyrium spp.) and from Florida eastward, longleaf pine is commonly associated with wiregrass (Aristida spp.) The open, park-like stand structure of longleaf pine ecosystems is a product of frequent understory fires, which are facilitated by the combustibility of grasses and accumulated pine needles. Lightning strikes and ignition by Native Americans were the principal sources of fire that shaped longleaf pine ecosystems for many millennia.

  • Citation: Brockway, Dale G.; Outcalt, Kenneth W.; Tomczak, Donald J.; Johnson, E. E. 2002. Restoring longleaf pine forest ecosystems in the southern United States. In Gardiner, E.S. and Breland, L.J., Compilers. Proceedings of the IUFRO Conference on Restoration of Boreal and Temperate Forests-- Documenting forest restoration knowledge and practices in boreal and temperate ecosystems. Report No.11. Hørsholm, Denmark: Danish Center for Forest, Landscape and Planning: 52-53.

Requesting Print Publications

Publication requests are subject to availability. Fiscal responsibility limits the hardcopies of publications we produce and distribute. Electronic versions of publications may be downloaded, distributed and printed.

Please make any requests at

Publication Notes

  • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.
  • Our online publications are scanned and captured using Adobe Acrobat. During the capture process some typographical errors may occur. Please contact the SRS webmaster if you notice any errors which make this publication unusable.
  • To view this article, download the latest version of Adobe Acrobat Reader.