Ecological restoration of longleaf pine

The multiple values of longleaf pine ecosystems have led to a growing interest in their restoration on public and private lands.

Restoration opportunities exist for both degraded existing longleaf pine and the establishment of new acres.

While known for its extensive acreage of high-quality longleaf pine, Ichauway also has a range of site conditions at different stages of stand development, and thus starting points, for longleaf ecosystem restoration.

These include recently established longleaf plantations on former agricultural fields, cutover sites, existing longleaf in need of thinning or midstory hardwood removal, and mature stands of offsite pine in which longleaf seedlings have been underplanted.

Regardless of starting condition, our goals are similar for all of our forested land – healthy, functioning longleaf forests with their associated wildlife and groundcover communities.

Our restoration work is coupled with monitoring and research designed to help better understand topics such as:

  • The effects of management actions on the direction and rate of changes in stand and landscape structure
  • Wildlife community responses to longleaf restoration
  • Groundcover restoration, including timing of active restoration, groundcover response to stand development, and restoration techniques
  • Assessment of ecosystem recovery after windstorms
  • Innovative thinning patterns to enhance recovery of stand spatial structure.

Key Publications

Giencke, L. M., R. C. Denhof, L. K. Kirkman, O. S. Stuber, and S. T. Brantley. 2018. Seed sourcing for longleaf pine ground cover restoration: using plant performance to assess seed transfer zones and home-site advantage. Restoration Ecology 26:1127-1136.
Holland, A. M., B. T. Rutledge, S. B. Jack, and J. M. Stober. 2019. The longleaf pine forest: long-term monitoring and restoration of a management dependent ecosystem. Journal for Nature Conservation 47:38-50.
Jack, S. B., and R. K. McIntyre. 2017. Restoring and managing the overstory: an ecological forestry approach. Pages 175-205 in L. K. Kirkman, and S. B. Jack (eds.). Ecological Restoration and Management of Longleaf Pine Forests. CRC Press, Boca Raton, Florida.
Kirkman, L. K., R. J. Mitchell, M. J. Kaeser, S. D. Pecot, and K. L. Coffey. 2007. The perpetual forest: using undesirable species to bridge restoration. Journal of Applied Ecology 44:604-614.
Kirkman, L. K., K. L. Coffey, R. J. Mitchell, and E. B. Moser. 2004. Ground cover recovery patterns and life history traits: implications for restoration obstacles and opportunities in a species-rich savanna. Journal of Ecology 92:409-421.
Kirkman, L. K., and L. M. Giencke. 2017. Restoring and managing a diverse ground cover. Pages 207-232 in L. K. Kirkman, and S. B. Jack (eds.). Ecological Restoration and Management of Longleaf Pine Forests. CRC Press, Boca Raton, Florida.
Mulligan, M. K., L. K. Kirkman, and R. J. Mitchell. 2002. Aristida beyrichiana (wiregrass) establishment and recruitment: implications for restoration. Restoration Ecology 10:68-72
Rutledge, B. T., and L. M. Conner. 2002. Potential effects of groundcover restoration on breeding bird communities in longleaf pine stands. Wildlife Society Bulletin 30:354-360.