Longleaf Academy in Georgia

I am down in Guyton, Georgia. I learned a few things at the longleaf academy, sponsored by the Longleaf Alliance, but maybe as important was knowing that lots of people are working to understand and restore this great and diverse ecosystem at least to some of its former glory.

The pictures are from Fort Stewart, where they manage 120,000 acres with fire. The management is only in recent decades but fire was always common. They do live fire exercises. These can set off fires.

You cannot stop fire, but you can make choices about when and where. In the past, they had 700 fires a year (almost two a day). Now they are down to about 40.

The first photo is a restoration zone. Notice the no tank logo. Never saw that before. Next is looking up on pole trees. A poles is worth more than any other use for pine, but it has to be the right size, straight w/o defects. Longleaf make good poles, but not every tree qualifies. The last two pictures show longleaf savannas. They are not that old. When the army acquired the land in the 1940s, the former landowners cut off all the merchantable timber, so these forests are no more than around 60-70 years old. Nature is resilient and it gives us hope for other restorations.

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