The Natural Georgia Series: The Fire Forest

Longleaf Pine-Wiregrass Ecosystem

Design by Lenz Design, Decatur, Georgia.

The Longleaf Alliance Promotes Region-wide Longleaf Recovery

By Mark Hainds

In direct response to the continuing decline of the longleaf pine-grassland ecosystem, the Longleaf Alliance was formed in the mid-1990s to publicize existing programs and to develop new cooperative efforts that promote the ecological and economic values of longleaf ecosystems. Alliance members are working to encourage better management practices and to reverse the decline of the longleaf ecosystems. Members include private landowners, forest industries, state and federal agencies, conservation groups, university researchers, outreach personnel, and others interested in promoting a region-wide recovery of longleaf pine forests.

The Longleaf Alliance serves as a clearinghouse for a broad range of information on regenerating, restoring, and managing longleaf pine. A primary focus is providing economically viable and voluntary options for recovery of longleaf on private lands where most of the losses are occurring. Information is targeted to natural resource managers who interact with non-industrial landowners.

Through the Alliance, landowners and managers are connected regionally with peers or other sources who have successfully addressed similar problems, or with researchers with similar interests and questions. The Alliance helps facilitate communication and build networks among landowners, managers, consultants, industries, researchers, and longleaf proponents. Newsletters and technical bulletins emphasizing the bottom line on management techniques are distributed to the Alliance's membership.

Since its inception, the Longleaf Alliance has conducted critical research aimed at improving artificial regeneration of longleaf pine. Studies conducted by the Longleaf Alliance on planting methods, site preparation, herbaceous release, and planting depth have led to vastly improved planting techniques and establishment rates. The Longleaf Alliance is one of the most widely recognized authorities on artificial regeneration of longleaf pine.

The Longleaf Alliance has also conducted extensive research on old-growth longleaf in the Flomaton Tract and Fort McCullen, Alabama, and natural regeneration of longleaf pine at the Solon Dixon Forestry Education Center, part of Auburn University. This research has led to improved techniques for natural regeneration of longleaf pine and restoration and management of old-growth stands of longleaf pine.

The Longleaf Alliance, based out of the Solon Dixon Forestry Education Center near Andalusia, Alabama, is an organization individuals can contact with their questions about longleaf pine. The Alliance maintains databases on tree growers who plant longleaf pine, forestry consultants who work with longleaf pine, longleaf pine seed sources, and the Longleaf Nursery List. The Longleaf Nursery List is a comprehensive listing of tree nurseries that sell longleaf pine seedlings.

Currently the Longleaf Alliance has over 700 members throughout the United States and Canada, including more than 200 members in Georgia. A basic membership starts at $35 annually. For more information on the Longleaf Alliance, please contact us. Phone (334) 222-7770, FAX (334) 222-0581, e-mail [email protected]. Or write us at Longleaf Alliance, RR 7 Box 131, Andalusia, AL 36420.

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