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What are the Benefits of Longleaf Pine Forests?

There are corporations, organizations, and all kinds of groups all over the nation who are working toward restoring the longleaf pine population. At one point in time, longleaf pine forests covered almost 60 million acres in America, but today, only 3.4 million of those acres remain. Why is it so essential to bring these trees back?

Benefits of Longleaf Pine

Longleaf Pine Forest

Longleaf Pine and Sustainability

One of the main reasons that we are working hard toward restoring the presence of the longleaf pine is the sustainability of the tree. Longleaf pine forests are more resistant to insects, disease, fire, and other risks that other southern pine forests can’t handle. These trees can live more than 150 years, and in some cases, these trees can live up to 450 years. Longleaf pine trees are also more practical when it comes to Florida. These pine trees can withstand high wind speeds, even staying up during hurricanes.

Longleaf Pine and Biodiversity

There are nearly 900 plant species that are found nowhere else in this world other than longleaf pine forests. Plants aren’t the only ones who are depending on these forests, there are also 26 federally listed endangered or threatened species that are a part of the longleaf pine ecosystem. Longleaf pine forests can be one of the most diverse in the world when restored to full ecological function.

Longleaf Pine Sapling During Prescribed Burn

Longleaf Pine and Air Quality

Thanks to the Clean Air Act from the 1970s, air pollution emissions in the United States have been dropping steadily. However, deforestation could affect how well we combat climate change. One reason that many environmentalists are so adamant about restoring longleaf pine forests is that they promote carbon sequestration, also known as terrestrial sequestration.

Terrestrial sequestration is when the ecosystem absorbs the carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and stores it. Because the longleaf pine lives for so long, they can store carbon for many years, making them a good investment for our environmental health.

Longleaf Pine and Water Quality

Longleaf pine forests also help improve water quality and are an inexpensive way to control flooding, a problem becoming more prevalent as the sea level around us rises, setting flood records. When using longleaf pine forests to control flooding, it helps to reduce the flooding as well as improve water quality to the communities downstream.

Longleaf Pine Bark

How to Identify a Longleaf Pine

How can you tell the difference between a longleaf pine and other pine trees? While pine trees can be very similar, there are a couple of differences that can help you identify whether or not you are in the presence of the great Longleaf Pine tree.

Longleaf Pines are medium to large trees with long needles like leaves in bundles called fascicles and are usually in groups of three. The long pine needles are what gives the tree its name. These pine needles can be up to 45 cm, which is among the longest of all of the pines.

Longleaf Pine bark is thick, orange-brown, and scaly. When the tree is larger, the bark is plated and can easily chip off. You can check out the full plant index here.

Are you wanting to plant longleaf pine on your property? Promise Habitat Services is passionate about native planting, get your free quote today by contacting us at the bottom of the page.


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