Restoring a disappearing ecosystem: the longleaf pine savannaAuthor(s): Tim Harrington; Karl Miller; Noreen Parks
Source: Science Findings 152. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. 6 p.
Publication Series: Science Findings
Station: Pacific Northwest Research Station
PDF: Download Publication (4.0 MB)
DescriptionLongleaf pine (Pinus palustris) savannas of the southeastern United States contain some of the world’s most diverse plant communities, along with a unique complement of wildlife. Their traditionally open canopy structure and rich understory of grasses and herbs were critical to their vigor. However, a long history of land-use practices such as logging, farming, and fire exclusion have reduced this once-widespread ecosystem to only 3 percent of its original range.
At six longleaf pine plantations in South Carolina, Tim Harrington with the Pacific Northwest Research Station and collaborators with the Southern Research Station used various treatments (including prescribed burns, tree thinning, and herbicide applications) to alter the forest structure and tracked how successful each one was in advancing savanna restoration over a 14-year period. They found that typical planting densities for wood production in plantations create dense understory shade that excludes many native herbaceous species important to savannas and associated wildlife. The scientists found that although tree thinning alone did not result in sustained gains, a combination of controlled burning, thinning, and herbicide treatments to reduce woody plants was an effective strategy for recovering the savanna ecosystem. The scientists also found that these efforts must be repeated periodically for enduring benefits.
- Visit PNW's Publication Request Page to request a hard copy of this publication.
- 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.
CitationHarrington, Tim; Miller, Karl; Parks, Noreen. 2013. Restoring a disappearing ecosystem: the longleaf pine savanna. Science Findings 152. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. 6 p.
Keywordslongleaf pine, savanna, restoration, active management, Harrington
- Effects of precommercial thinning and midstory control on avian and small mammal communities during longleaf pine Savanna restoration
- Eight years of seasonal burning and herbicidal brush control influence sapling longleaf pine growth, understory vegetation, and the outcome of an ensuing wildfire
- Restoration of Longleaf Pine Ecosystems
XML: View XML