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Life History and Disturbance Response of Pinus echinata (shortleaf pine)
Family: Pinaceae
Guild: pioneer, dry-site intolerant
Functional Lifeform: large evergreen conifer
Ecological Role: successfully competes on dry ridges and nutrient-poor soils; on good sites forms a transitional type gradually replaced by more tolerant hardwood species
Lifespan, yrs (typical/max): 200/300
Shade Tolerance: intolerant
Height, m: 25-30+
Canopy Tree: yes
Pollination Agent: wind
Seeding, yrs (begins/optimal/declines): 20/40/280
Mast Frequency, yrs: 5-10
New Cohorts Source: seeds
Flowering Dates: late spring
Flowers/Cones Damaged by Frost: no
Seedfall Begins: late fall -- winter
Seed Banking: up to 1 yr
Cold Stratification Required: yes
Seed Type/Dispersal Distance/Agent: winged/ to 100 m/ wind
Season of Germination: spring
Seedling Rooting System: taproot
Sprouting: common when young trees are badly damaged
Establishment Seedbed Preferences
Substrate: mineral soil
Light: open areas only
Moisture: moist required
Temperature: neutral
Disturbance response:
Fire: Shortleaf pine is well-adapted to occasional fire, but does not tolerate frequent fire. It decreases in density when fire is completely suppressed. Growing-season fires are more damaging than dormant-season fires. Shortleaf pine is most susceptible to fire in the first 6 to 10 years after establishment, but a well-developed basal stem crook protects dormant buds in seedlings. Trees up to 30 years of age can sprout from dormant buds in the root collar. Larger trees have thick bark and a high, open crown, and are resistant to stem and crown damage. Basal injuries are uncommon. Shortleaf pines can withstand considerable (up to 70%) crown scorch. Fire-damaged trees are more susceptible to insect infestation. Seedling establishment may occur from seeds of surviving trees onsite or from offsite seeds carried by wind. Shortleaf pine regenerates well after fire, since exposed mineral soil and lack of competition promote seedling establishment. Prescribed fire has been used to prepare the necessary seedbed for shortleaf pine regeneration and to control competing hardwoods. More than one fire may be necessary where competing hardwoods sprout vigorously after fire.
Weather: Shortleaf pine is considered to be windfirm. It is susceptible to stem breakage from ice damage. Shortleaf pine mortality increases under extreme drought conditions.
Air pollution: Shortleaf pine is intermediate in sensitivity to ozone. Seedlings exhibited reduced biomass accumulation under controlled fumigation with ozone.