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Longleaf forests once covered 92 million acres from Texas to Maryland to Florida. These grand old-growth pines were the "alpha tree" of the largest forest ecosystem in North America and have come to define the southern forest. But logging, suppression of fire, destruction by landowners, and a complex web of other factors reduced those forests so that longleaf is now found only on 3 million acres. Fortunately, the stately tree is enjoying a resurgence of interest, and longleaf forests are once again spreading across the South. Blending a compelling narrative by writers Bill Finch, Rhett Johnson, and John C. Hall with Beth Maynor Young's breathtaking photography, Longleaf, Far as the Eye Can See invites readers to experience the astounding beauty and significance of the majestic longleaf ecosystem. The authors explore the interactions of longleaf with other species, the development of longleaf forests prior to human contact, and the influence of the longleaf on southern culture, as well as ongoing efforts to restore these forests. Part natural history, part conservation advocacy, and part cultural exploration, this book highlights the special nature of longleaf forests and proposes ways to conserve and expand them.
Longleaf, as Far as the Eye Can See
Covering 92 million acres from Virginia to Texas, the longleaf pine ecosystem was, in its prime, one of the most extensive and biologically diverse ecosystems in North America. Today these magnificent forests have declined to a fraction of their original extent, threatening such species as the gopher tortoise, the red-cockaded woodpecker, and the Venus fly-trap. Lawrence S. Earley explores the history of these forests and the astonishing biodiversity within them, drawing on extensive research and telling the story through first-person travel accounts and interviews with foresters, ecologists, biologists, botanists, and landowners. The compelling story Earley tells here offers hope that with continued human commitment, the longleaf pine might not just survive, but once again thrive.
Forgotten Grasslands of the South is a literary and scientific case study of some of the biologically richest and most endangered ecosystems in North America. Eminent ecologist Reed Noss tells the story of how southern grasslands arose and persisted over time and addresses questions that are fundamental for conserving these vital yet poorly understood ecosystems. The author examines: the natural history of southern grasslands their origin and history (geologic, vegetation, and human) biological hotspots and endangered ecosystems physical determinants of grassland distribution, including ecology, soils, landform, and hydrology fire, herbivores, and ecological interactions. The final chapter presents a general conservation strategy for southern grasslands, including prioritization, protection, restoration, and management. Also included are examples of ongoing restoration projects, along with a prognosis for the future. In addition to offering fascinating new information about these little-studied ecosystems, Noss demonstrates how natural history is central to the practice of conservation. Natural history has been on a declining trajectory for decades, as theory and experimentation have dominated the field of ecology. Ecologists are coming to realize that these divergent approaches are in fact complementary, and that pursuing them together can bring greater knowledge and understanding of how the natural world works and how we can best conserve it. Forgotten Grasslands of the South explores the overarching importance of ecological processes in maintaining healthy ecosystems, and is the first book of its kind to apply natural history, in a modern, comprehensive sense, to the conservation of biodiversity across a broad region. It sets a new standard for scientific literature and is essential reading not only for those who study and work to conserve the grasslands of the South but also for everyone who is fascinated by the natural world.
Fire can be a destructive, deadly element of nature, capable of obliterating forests, destroying homes, and taking lives. Den Latham’s Painting the Landscape with Fire describes this phenomenon but also tells a different story, one that reveals the role of fire ecology in healthy, dynamic forests. Fire is a beneficial element which allows the longleaf forests of America’s Southeast to survive. In recent decades, foresters and landowners have become intensely aware of the need to “put enough fire on the ground” to preserve longleaf habitat for red-cockaded woodpeckers, quail, wild turkeys, and a host of other plants and animals. Painting the Landscape with Fire is a hands-on-primer for those who want to understand the role of fire in longleaf forests. Latham joins wildlife biologists, foresters, wildfire fighters, and others as they band and translocate endangered birds, survey snake populations, improve wildlife habitat, and conduct prescribed burns on public and private lands. Painting the Landscape with Fire explores the unique southern biosphere of longleaf forests. Throughout, Latham beautifully tells the story of the resilience of these woodlands and of the resourcefulness of those who work to see them thrive. Fire is destructive in the case of accidents, arson, or poor policy, but with the right precautions and safety measures, it is the glowing life force that these forests need.
Those who remember what the longleaf pine woodland looked like are passing with each tree that is cut. Perhaps it takes age, and an outsider who became a fire ecologist, to appreciate what once was. This pictorial gift (over 80 pics & images!) of the longleaf pine story will be appreciated if you liked: Ray's Ecology of a Cracker Childhood, Neel's The Art of Managing Longleaf, or Earley's Looking for Longleaf. If you love the South then this book's for you! It speaks about one of North America's premier forests: the longleaf pine ecosystem. This coastal plain forest once dominated the landscape that greeted the settlers from southern Virginia to the Piney Woods of eastern Texas. Its sap was used to seal ships and make specialty chemicals; its timber was used to build schools, factories, churches, houses and the great American railroads! Today it helps to deliver electric power to millions of homes. What happened to this woodland? Will we bring this treasured forest back?
Ecological Restoration and Management of Longleaf Pine Forests is a timely synthesis of the current understanding of the natural dynamics and processes in longleaf pine ecosystems. This book beautifully illustrates how incorporation of basic ecosystem knowledge and an understanding of socioeconomic realities shed new light on established paradigms and their application for restoration and management. Unique for its holistic ecological focus, rather than a more traditional silvicultural approach, the book highlights the importance of multi-faceted actions that robustly integrate forest and wildlife conservation at landscape scales, and merge ecological with socioeconomic objectives for effective conservation of the longleaf pine ecosystem.

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