Restoring and Managing Longleaf Pine Ecosystems (SRS RWU 4158)


Frequently Burned LLP Site in Excellent Condition

To provide knowledge and strategies for restoring, managing, and sustaining longleaf pine ecosystems

Initiated during the realignment of the Southern Research Station in 2007, SRS RWU- 4158 is a team of 6 scientists and support personnel whose mission is to provide knowledge and strategies for restoring, managing, and sustaining longleaf pine ecosystems in the southeastern United States. Scientists in the Unit work on two overarching research problems. They design and carry out research studies that seek to solve these problems or overcome related limitations to our knowledge of longleaf pine ecosystems. The Unit's scientists work with partners to provide knowledge and technologies needed to successfully restore and manage these ecosystems which are increasingly affected by a variety of human and natural influences in times of environmental stress and cultural and climatic change. The problem areas are as follows:

  • Providing fundamental physiological knowledge needed to understand the processes that affect longleaf pine seedling production, establishment, and growth and development.
  • Providing ecological information about population and community processes that affect restoration of longleaf pine woodlands and at risk native plant species.
  • Providing practices, strategies, and models that quantify and predict the influence of management on maintaining and restoring longleaf pine ecosystems.

Our scientists work with partners and cooperators to provide knowledge and technologies needed to successfully restore and manage these ecosystems as they are increasingly affected by a variety of human and natural influences in times of environmental stress and cultural and climatic change.

Selected News and Events

longleaf pine stand showing understory plants

Longleaf Pine Stand Understory

Longleaf pine trees once rose to the sky on more than 90 million acres across the Southeast, towering over grasses and flowers and providing habitat for many animals that are now rare. Less than 3 million acres of these forests remain, but returning degraded ecosystems to longleaf pine forests is a priority for many managers and organizations.

U.S. Forest Service scientist Joan Walker and her colleagues developed a roadmap for restoring these forests, especially the understory plant communities. Walker, a plant ecologist at the Forest Service Southern Research Station Restoring Longleaf Pine Ecosystems unit, co-authored a study that quantified and evaluated a reference model for use in restoring southeastern U.S. longleaf pine woodland understory plant communities. The study was led by Lars Brudvig, a professor at Michigan State University, and published in an article in PLoS ONE. Read more in the CompassLive article.

This article is by Sara Farmer for CompassLive Weekly Update.

A longleaf pine stand on the flatwoods of Goethe State Forest in north central Florida treated with single-tree selection using the Pro-B method. Photo by Dale Brockway.

Pro-B

Pro-B, a method developed by U.S. Forest Service research, helps make uneven-aged management of longleaf pine and other forest types a practical and efficient option for landowners and managers. A field study by researchers showed that after less than three hours of training on the Pro-B (proportional basal area) method, managers were able to accurately mark stands using only a single marking pass.

Dale Brockway, research ecologist with the Forest Service Southern Research Station (SRS) Longleaf Pine Restoration and Management unit, worked with SRS emeritus scientist Ken Outcalt and Auburn University’s Ed Loewenstein (formerly of the Forest Service Northern Research Station) to create a technique that managers can easily use to apply uneven-aged management in the forest. Pro-B may be used to implement selection silviculture in a variety of forest types in the Southeast, elsewhere in North America, and perhaps on other continents as well. Read more in the CompassLive article.

This article is by Zoё Hoyle  for CompassLive Weekly Update.

James Barnett (left, with Larry Stanley) was inducted into the 2015 Louisiana State University (LSU) Forestry, Wildlife, and Fisheries Alumni Hall of Fame

James Barnett Inducted into Hall of Fame

On April 25,  James Barnett formerly project leader of this unit and currently volunteer for our sister unit, RWU-4159, was inducted into the 2015 Louisiana State University (LSU) Forestry, Wildlife, and Fisheries Alumni Hall of Fame in recognition of the nearly five decades he’s spent conducting research for the U.S. Forest Service Southern Research Station. . Read more in the CompassLive article.





Restoring and Managing Longleaf Pine Ecosystems (RWU - 4158)

Restoring and Managing Longleaf Pine Ecosystems
Southern Research Station
Mail:  P.O. Box 1270
Ship: 607 Reserve Street
Hot Springs, AR 71902
870-723-1623