To begin, what is an Ecosystem?
It is an Environment within which many Species,
both Plant (flora) and Animal,
a way of daily life, unconsciously
interdependent upon one another and
the area that they inhabit together.
The Longleaf Pine is part of an Endangered
Ancient Ecosystem that is critical to the well being
of over 30 Endangered Species in Florida.
This much maligned tree once covered much of the Southeast,
but today because of unscrupulous logging and construction,
it has been reduced by well over 90 percent,
making it the most Threatened Ecosystem on this Continent.
We are surrounded by these beautiful
trees here in
the Ocala National Forest and many of
Endangered animals depend on them for a variety of
The needles are incredible and range from
8 to 18 inches long,
our Airedale brings them in on her leg
fur every time she goes outside.
The massive cones are between 5 and 10 inches, bigger than any other
Longleaf Pines are very hardy, being insect, disease, fire and
wind resistant, an important factor, considering the turbulent
environment that is everyday weather in Central Florida.
Their great strength and superior qualities are what made them
a popular choice for building ships and homes by the early
who promptly wiped out the Ancient virgin stands
in a little over one hundred years.
All that remains today of these once proud pines are
relatively young ones, which are now being carefully
watched by Florida Environmental groups.
Hopefully some of them will be allowed to reach their
full potential and grow as old as their ancestors once did.
This is yet another Florida Natural that deserves our respect.
Places to learn more:
Florida Division of Forestry
Washington State Forest
Longleaf Pine Ecosystem
Panhandle Longleaf Pine
Range and Habitat of Longleaf Pine
Longleaf Pine Regeneration
Longleaf Pine Restoration
Walking with the Alligators
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