Skip to Main Content
Longleaf pine: A sustainable approach for increasing terrestrial carbon in the southern United StatesAuthor(s): John S. Kush; Ralph S. Meldahl; Charles K. McMahon; William D. Boyer
Source: Environmental Management 33(1): S139-S147
Publication Series: Miscellaneous Publication
PDF: View PDF (659 KB)
DescriptionNatural communities dominated by longleaf pine (Pinus palustris Mill.) once covered an estimated two thirds of the forested area in the southeastern United States. Today, less than 1.2 million ha remain. However, over the past 10-15 years, public land managers have begun to restore many longleaf pine forests. More recently incentive programs have prompted reforestation and afforestation promgrams on onindustrial private lands. These activities have been facilitated by improved longleaf regeneration technology and by expanded educational and outreach efforts. In the South, there is also a growing trend towards longer rotations due to changes in wood/fiber markets and prices. These trends suggest a new strategy to increase terrestrial carbon storage in the southeastern United States in a way that provides many simultaneous ecological and economic benefits. For example, longleaf pine is a long-lived species with a low mortality rate. Among the southern pine species, it has a high specific gravity and can tolerate a wide variety of habitats. Longleaf pine is better able to sustain growth at older ages (over 150 years) and is tolerant to fire and many insects and diseases. Recent research also indicates that longleaf pine managed for longer rotations outperforms other commercial southern pine species on most sites and might better adapt to future climate scenarios with higher temperatures and higher atmospheric CO2 levels. Moreover, the higher-value, longer-lasting wood products derived from longleaf pine forests will continue to store carbon over long time periods.
- You may send email to email@example.com to request a hard copy of this publication.
- (Please specify exactly which publication you are requesting and your mailing address.)
- We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
- This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.
CitationKush, John S.; Meldahl, Ralph S.; McMahon, Charles K.; Boyer, William D. 2004. Longleaf pine: A sustainable approach for increasing terrestrial carbon in the southern United States. Environmental Management 33(1): S139-S147
KeywordsLongleaf pine, Pinus palustris, carbon sequestration, carbon storage, US southern forests, carbon sink
- Initial mortality rates and extent of damage to loblolly and longleaf pine plantations affected by an ice storm in South Carolina
- Ecophysiological comparison of 50-year-old longleaf pine, slash pine and loblolly pine.
- Longleaf Pine Ecosystem Restoration: The Role of Fire
XML: View XML