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SE Virginia's Native Longleaf Pines Once Covered 1 Million+ Acres, Down to 200 Trees - Red Orbit

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hatrack Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-29-06 12:09 PM
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SE Virginia's Native Longleaf Pines Once Covered 1 Million+ Acres, Down to 200 Trees - Red Orbit
Billy Apperson is a state employee who works closely with the logging industry, but he recently spent his own money to save a few old trees from a logger's chain saw. That's because the trees were rare descendants of the longleaf pines that once covered more than a million acres in southeastern Virginia and for years were pillars of the region's economy.

Of those vast forests, Virginia now has only about 200 individual pines with the genetic makeup of the native trees designed by nature to grow here. Apperson, a forester with the Virginia Department of Forestry, is racing against time along with state colleagues and scientists to preserve the native longleaf pines that remain and use them to breed new trees with the same heredity.

It's all part of a state effort to re-create at least a portion of the vanished forests. "This is a last chance for science to preserve what's left of the native gene pool," Apperson said. "Gosh, they're beautiful plants. You just can't beat what nature decides to plant in the first place."

Forests of longleaf pine once covered 90 million acres from Texas to Florida and north into southeastern Virginia. The trees, long- lived and tall with straight trunks, were full of sap that was tapped and distilled into pitch, tar and turpentine for Virginia's wooden boat-building industry. The trunks made excellent masts for ships. But their usefulness, and the attractiveness of longleaf saplings as food to wild hogs introduced into the region, proved to be their downfall.

EDIT

http://www.redorbit.com/news/science/783082/native_long...
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brokensymmetry Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-29-06 01:11 PM
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1. We're going to leave nothing but a lifeless cinder...
and by doing so, we may well bring about the
demise of our civilization - perhaps even our
species.

One might conclude that the term "homo sapiens"
is purely ironic.
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Porcupine Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-29-06 07:09 PM
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2. The same fate as the Lebanese Cedar
and whatever trees the citizens of Carthage used to build their navies. It seems that the best genetic survival strategy for a tree species is to be twisted, pithy or otherwise useless to mankind.

I don't think anyone is looking forward to the future forests of privet and pyrocanthus but that's what we'll have left for tree cover after this.

FWIW wild hogs don't do as well where there are active populations of wolf and cougar. We NEED those large predators in the forest to keep them usefull to us in the long run.
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YankeyMCC Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-29-06 07:21 PM
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3. That just sucks


I've no other words for this crap tonight...it Sucks

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