Misconceptions about Longleaf Pine
Myth: It is too difficult to get longleaf pine to survive by artificial regeneration.
Fact: With better seedlings, better planting techniques, and a better understanding of the impact of competing vegetation on seedling growth, landowners today should not experience planting failures. On cutover land, most landowners should achieve 90% survival or better!
Myth: Longleaf pine is a slow-grower.
Fact: If time spent in the grass-stage is minimized, early growth of longleaf pine rivals that of other southern pine species in many cases. In fact, longleaf pine has the ability to make up for a slow start by more rapid growth later on. On some sites, longleaf pine may in fact, grow faster than other pines.
Myth: Longleaf pine cannot economically compete with loblolly or slash pines.
Fact: Many lumber companies and landowners have made their living exclusively by growing longleaf pine. Many hunting plantations strive to achieve the appearance of open and park like longleaf pine forests because it enhances the aesthetics of the hunt (translating into higher revenue). Current markets make longleaf management more attractive than ever.
Myth: Longleaf forests do not make good wildlife habitat due to scarcity of oaks.
Fact: Longleaf forests and the ability to use fire within these forests provides ideal habitat for a whole suite of game and nongame wildlife.
Myth: You should not allow a longleaf forest to mature due to the potential of "infestation" by red-cockaded woodpeckers (RCW).
Fact #1: Today’s populations of red-cockaded woodpeckers are most often confined to large isolated public landholdings. The probability that a pair of red-cockaded woodpeckers can successfully navigate the sea of open and urban land to find an individual landowner’s property is slim.
Fact #2: Provisions (like the Safe-Harbor agreement) are in place to help minimize the disincentive of managing a forest that would also make attractive red-cockaded woodpecker habitat. Click here to learn more.
Fact #3: Red-cockaded woodpeckers will become established in mature loblolly pine about a generation sooner than they would longleaf pine.
Fact #4: If woodpeckers were “easy to get”, they wouldn’t be on the Endangered Species List! Americans are spending thousands and even millions of dollars to try to establish woodpeckers deliberately, with mixed success. It is highly unlikely that a landowner who didn’t want red-cockades would attract them.