Long Leaf Pine – Restoring

Science Diary: Long Leaf Pine – Restoring

Music; Ambience: Walking in forest

McCullough : “Our goal is to restore the Long Leaf Pine ecosystem as a whole, and that’s a pretty monumental task. It’s a task in which I will spend probably 27 or 28 years of my career only having touched just a small portion of it.”

Welcome to Pulse of the Planet’s Science Diaries, a glimpse of the world of science from the inside. Howard McCullough is a Forestry Technician at the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge.

“Historically, Long Leaf was what covered this area. I may be partial, but Long Leaf is in my mind the prettiest of the pine species. It’s got the longest needles. It’s got in most cases the straightest trunk of the pine species.”

And the Long Leaf Pine has long been prized as a particularly useful tree.

“It has provided historically, the best lumber of the most of the pine species with its dense grained wood. And it was one of the best naval storage trees back when they were harvesting gum and the turpentine, the spirits and stuff to seal the cracks in ships. Long before they were cutting timber, they were harvesting naval stores. It’s just an all around I guess perfect tree.”

JM: But these same qualities are what led to the Long Leaf Pines being over-harvested.

“Most of this land was cut over in the late 1800s, early 1900s, and most of the old virgin long leaf was cut off along with the other pine species. But what seeded back in were the more prolific pine species, such as Slash Pine and Loblolly. They actually seeded areas that once stood as virgin Long Leaf. And we want to try to slowly over time move those species out and move the Long Leaf back in. Our goal is to restore the grandeur of a species that was once 70 to 90 million acres from Virginia to Texas, that now we have less than 1percent of in that same range.”

We’ll hear more on the Long Leaf Pine in future programs. Pulse of the Planet’s Science Diaries are made possible by the National Science Foundation. I’m Jim Metzner.

Long Leaf Pine - Restoring

Forestry experts at the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge are working to restore Long Leaf Pine, a species that once ranged from Virginia to Texas.
Air Date:07/09/2015
Scientist:
Transcript:

Science Diary: Long Leaf Pine - Restoring

Music; Ambience: Walking in forest

McCullough : "Our goal is to restore the Long Leaf Pine ecosystem as a whole, and that's a pretty monumental task. It's a task in which I will spend probably 27 or 28 years of my career only having touched just a small portion of it."

Welcome to Pulse of the Planet's Science Diaries, a glimpse of the world of science from the inside. Howard McCullough is a Forestry Technician at the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge.

"Historically, Long Leaf was what covered this area. I may be partial, but Long Leaf is in my mind the prettiest of the pine species. It's got the longest needles. It's got in most cases the straightest trunk of the pine species."

And the Long Leaf Pine has long been prized as a particularly useful tree.

"It has provided historically, the best lumber of the most of the pine species with its dense grained wood. And it was one of the best naval storage trees back when they were harvesting gum and the turpentine, the spirits and stuff to seal the cracks in ships. Long before they were cutting timber, they were harvesting naval stores. It's just an all around I guess perfect tree."

JM: But these same qualities are what led to the Long Leaf Pines being over-harvested.

"Most of this land was cut over in the late 1800s, early 1900s, and most of the old virgin long leaf was cut off along with the other pine species. But what seeded back in were the more prolific pine species, such as Slash Pine and Loblolly. They actually seeded areas that once stood as virgin Long Leaf. And we want to try to slowly over time move those species out and move the Long Leaf back in. Our goal is to restore the grandeur of a species that was once 70 to 90 million acres from Virginia to Texas, that now we have less than 1percent of in that same range."

We'll hear more on the Long Leaf Pine in future programs. Pulse of the Planet's Science Diaries are made possible by the National Science Foundation. I'm Jim Metzner.