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Population growth and the decline of natural Southern yellow pine forestsAuthor(s): David B. South; Edward R. Buckner
Source: In: Gen. Tech. Rep. SRS–75. Asheville, NC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Southern Research Station. Chapter 29. p. 307-317.
Publication Series: Miscellaneous Publication
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DescriptionPopulation growth has created social and economic pressures that affect the sustainability of naturally regenerated southern yellow pine forests. Major causes of this decline include (1) a shift in public attitudes regarding woods burning (from one favoring it to one that favors fire suppression) and (2) an increase in land values (especially near urban centers). The increase in land values reduces the chance of farmland abandonment, which was common in the first half of the 20th century. Abandoned farmlands provided many of the sites for the naturally regenerated pine stands that are being harvested today. Also, higher land values and higher taxes put pressure on landowners to subdivide their land for development or to establish more profitable tree plantations. These population-related factors and outbreaks of the southern pine bark beetle have resulted in a decline in naturally regenerated southern pines of more than 38 million acres since 1953. As population pressures reduce the incidence of wildfire, prescribed burning, and the abandonment of old fields, the decline in naturally regenerated southern yellow pine will continue. By 2030, only 23 million acres of natural southern yellow pine may remain.
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CitationSouth, David B.; Buckner, Edward R. 2004. Population growth and the decline of natural Southern yellow pine forests. In: Gen. Tech. Rep. SRS–75. Asheville, NC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Southern Research Station. Chapter 29. p. 307-317.
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