Friday, April 20, 2012

Big Time at Brosnan Forest!

We were invited by Norfolk Southern Railway to give a presentation on the amazing biodiversity in the ground-layer of longleaf pine forests.  Thanks to all those at Brosnan Forest who made this wonderful trip possible. The field tour was packed full of interesting information.

We were able to share a good bit of the longleaf pine story with an audience new to the subject.  Longleaf pine forests are special places!  We illustrated the incredibly high diversity of species with a set of nested plots, then talked about endemic plants, and the important role fire has in these forest systems.

Just another beautiful day in the woods!

"The land of the longleaf pine is a land of great beauty... swaggering over the Coastal Plain from southeastern Virginia to eastern Texas...Yet little is left of the longleaf pine ecosystem today: only 1.4% of the Atlantic and Gulf Coastal Plains still support longleaf, compared to 60% in presettlement times.  By 1996 only 2.95 million acres of longleaf remained out of the original 92 million acres ... Almost all of the old-growth forest is gone ... By any measure, longleaf's decline of nearly 98% is among the most severe of any  ecosystem on earth.  It dwarf's the Amazon rain forest's losses of somewhere between 13% and 25%.  It is comparable to or exceeds the decline in the North American tallgrass prairie, the coastal forest of Brazil, and the dry forests of the Pacific Coast of Central America." 

-from Looking for Longleaf: The Fall and Rise of an American Forest by Lawrence S. Earley