, Longleaf Pine-Wiregrass Ecosystem
refers to an ecological community
in the Southeastern coastal plain
of North America. Flatwoods are an ecosystem maintained by wildfire
or prescribed fire
and are dominated by Longleaf Pine
), and Slash Pine
) in the tree canopy and Saw Palmetto (Serenoa repens
), Gallberry (Ilex glabra
), and other flamable evergreen shrubs in the understory, along with a high diversity of herb species.
A number of rare and endangered animals are typical of this habitat including Red-cockaded Woodpeckers
), Gopher Tortoises (Gopherus polyphemus
), Frosted Flatwoods Salamanders
), and Striped newts (Notophthalmus perstriatus
Pineywoods are characterized by low basal area
and large widely spaced mature pine. Historically, the flatwoods were dominated by Longleaf Pine
, which can live to 500 years old. Large scale overharvesting
in conjunction with detrimental silvicultural
practices like replacement with faster growing Loblolly Pine
has drastically reduced the range of the Longleaf Pine ecosystem. Longleaf requires frequent fires, ideally every 1-3 years, to outcompete more shade resistant species, and decades of fire exclusion in the Southeast have contributed to the decline of this community type. The pineywoods have high understory diversity with numerous nitrogen fixing legumes
, other forbs, and grasses.
- Guide to the Natural Communities of......