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Memoirs of a Forest

Memoirs of a Forest Image Woods Fires Everyman's Enemy

In a little over 150 years, the longleaf pine forest transitioned from a forest that dominated the southern landscape to one of near anonymity. Although remnants of this once great forest abound, they are often only noticeable to the ardent observer.

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Memoirs of a Forest Photo Gallary

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Although grass has long since seeded into the yard (bare dirt yards were preference), this dogtrot cabin made of longleaf pine heartwood in Marengo County, AL is reminiscent of those built by countless generations of Southerners.
Countless place names in the South hint of a vast forest no longer seen.
From this picture one may assume that this area was always a pasture. Note, however, the lone longleaf pine in the background that survived the axe (because it marks the boundary between two properties). It's reasonable to assume that this area was once a pure stand of longleaf pine. It's current condition is likely an artifact of decades of past forestry practices that did not emphasize regenerating the original longleaf pine forest.
Amid the tidy rows of this slash pine plantation, a stump of an ancient longleaf pine tree bears witness to former dominance.
Initially this may look like a run of the mill scrub oak forest (as seen across many areas of the Coastal Plain). However, relict patches of wiregrass and scattered fatwood stumps indicate that this was a longleaf pine forest in the not so distant past.
Although no longer free to raom the piney woods, these cattle near Brooksville, FL are of Andalusian decent; the breed favored by Spanish vaqueros to graze through the longleaf woods a few hundred years ago.
Although hard to detect, this charred, circular pit near Goose Creek, SC is all that remains from a kiln used to make pitch and tar from longleaf pine fatwood by early colonists a few hundred years ago.
Another corpse of longleaf pine (this one in Gautier, MS) shows the scars from past turpentine extraction practices.
A stack of metal cups (once nailed to the side of longleaf pine trees to collect pine resin for turpentine) peaks out of the leaf litter in Miller County, GA.
An old bridge crossing in SW Georgia, built from longleaf pine timbers, demonstrates the reliance of early settlers on the forest for construction materials.
Looking down from a bridge in south Georgia on a sunken, axe cut, longleaf pine log. Creeks and rivers across many areas of the southeastern U.S. are littered with logs like this that sunk as someone tried to float them to mills.
A rusting steam locomotive in Longleaf, LA calls to mind a time when large amounts of capital were invested to improve the efficiency in logging the pine woods.
Railroad ties poke out of the ground in Baker County, GA on an old tram road (rail line) used in logging the longleaf pine forest.
Ancient pieces of charred longleaf pine cordwood are all that remain from charcoal pits built on the side of Choccolocco Mountain and used to supply charcoal for the local iron ore industry.

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