In late 2006 and into late spring of 2007 I spent time with Dr. Marty Cipollini as he worked with Berry College students on reintroducing Mountain Longleaf Pine to Lavender Mountain near Rome,GA. The story which subsequently ran in Berry Magazine describes this long term effort to re-establish an ecosystem which built the southeastern US and beyond. Growth and progress pressed this once abundant resource to near depletion.
I went back to one of the young stands on Thursday to see how they have done. Marty said that the Longleaf first roots itself deep before showing much above ground. What I witnessed is amazing. Two years ago these were seedlings. Now some of the plantings exceed 10 feet.
Those busy young seedlings are showing the promise of being trees. When Hernando DeSoto treked through NW Georgia it was said to be an open understory which was relatively easy to travel.
The result of prescribed burning of Loblolly Pines give that impression with the new plantings of Longleaf in the distance.
The plan is to get back with Marty to get his update and perhaps continue following his progress. Regardless, these are the first results of this project.
I flew over the tract today just to get a sense of the planting. The center open area above shows how Cipollini and his planning have carved out a sized area. Much of the area above the clearing already had Longleaf present. Quite a bit of thinning of loblolly and other undesirables has made the upper stands stronger.
There are mature Longleafs scatter around Rome, GA. These two on the grounds of Oak Hill, home to Martha Berry have been used by Cipollini and his team for seed stock. Field work will start in the spring at the tracts on Lavendar Mountain.
Five Hundred acres of family-owned property near Live Oak, Fl. has chosen to preserve their holding by managing their land sustainably. Longleaf is already established on the land and stands of lobblolly and slash pines are being replaced by longleaf.
Forest Stewards are those landowners who manage their forestlands on a long-term basis by following management objectives that are multiple resource based, economically viable, conservative of natural resources and socially, environmentally and ecologically responsible. –The Florida Department of Agriculture
Back in Rome, Marty Cipollini tends to grafted longleafs. He is grafting 100 year-old native stock to the plantings in an effort to get genetically closer to the native trees. The orchard he is creating will supply seed for future plantings.
Holland, GA. Chattooga Co.
Longleaf are thriving on top of a rocky ridge in Northwest Georgia. This private parcel was previously planted with Loblolly for the pulp and paper industry.
As the young longleaf moves from the grass to growth stage, long thick needles spread everywhere on these young trees.