Skip to Main Content
U.S. Forest Service
Caring for the land and serving people

United States Department of Agriculture

Home > Search > Publication Information

  1. Share via EmailShare on FacebookShare on LinkedInShare on Twitter
    Dislike this pubLike this pub
    Author(s): Dale G. Brockway; Kenneth W. Outcalt; Donald J. Tomczak; Everett E. Johnson
    Date: 2005
    Source: Gen. Tech. Rep. SRS-83. Asheville, NC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Southern Research Station. 34 p.
    Publication Series: General Technical Report (GTR)
    Station: Southern Research Station
    PDF: Download Publication  (5.91 MB)


    Longleaf pine (Pinus palustris) ecosystems once occupied 38 million ha in the Southeastern United States, occurring as forests, woodlands, and savannas on a variety of sites ranging from wet flatwoods to xeric sandhills and rocky mountainous ridges. Characterized by an open parklike structure, longleaf pine ecosystems are a product of frequent fires, facilitated by the presence of fallen pine needles and bunchgrasses in the understory. Timber harvest, land conversion to agricultural and other nonforest uses, and alteration of fire regimes greatly reduced longleaf pine ecosystems, until only 1.2 million ha remained in 1995. Longleaf pine ecosystems are among the most species-rich ecosystems outside the tropics. However, habitat loss and degradation have caused increased rarity of many obligate species. The lack of frequent surface fires and the proliferation of woody plants in the understory and midstory have greatly increased the risk of additional longleaf pine ecosystem losses from catastrophic fire.

    Because longleaf pine still exists in numerous small fragments throughout its range, it is reasonable to conclude that it can be restored. Restoration efforts now underway use physical, chemical, and pyric methods to reestablish the natural structure and function in these ecosystems by adjusting species composition, modifying stand structure, and facilitating ecological processes, such as periodic fire and longleaf pine regeneration. The ecological, economic, and social benefits of restoring longleaf pine ecosystems include (1) expanding the habitat available to aid in the recovery of numerous imperiled species, (2) improving habitat quality for many wildlife species, (3) producing greater amounts of high-quality longleaf pine timber products, (4) increasing the production of pine straw, (5) providing new recreational opportunities, (6) preserving natural and cultural legacies, and (7) creating a broader range of management options for future generations.

    Publication Notes

    • You may send email to 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.


    Brockway, Dale G.; Outcalt, Kenneth W.; Tomczak, Donald J.; Johnson, Everett E. 2005. Restoration of Longleaf Pine Ecosystems. Gen. Tech. Rep. SRS-83. Asheville, NC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Southern Research Station. 34 p.


    Google Scholar


    Biological diversity, bluestem grasses, disturbance, fire ecology, gopher tortoise, Pinus palustris Mill., red-cockaded woodpecker, wiregrass.

    Related Search

    XML: View XML
Show More
Show Fewer
Jump to Top of Page