Monday, January 19, 2009

What happened to the long leaf?

The longleaf pine used to be the dominant tree over 60 million acres of the Southeast. And they were the dominant tree in western Louisiana, for a time. Lawrence Earley, author of Looking for Long Leaf, describes the tree’s demise this way:

“Long leaf’s decline has been attributed to a great many things but is most easily explained in three words—need, greed, and mismanagement. People cut the forest, burned it to farm and make spaces to live, exploited its resources, and changed the natural processes that had evolved and maintained it.”

Among the culprits were farmers, industrial turpentiners, lumber companies, paper companies, foresters and others. “All of them in some way made their livings from the forest and tried to shape it for their own ends.”

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