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Longleaf Pine Returns to Florida Plant Materials Center

planting longleaf pine treeLongleaf Pine Returns to Florida Plant Materials Center

The Brooksville Plant Materials Center (PMC) is situated on about 140 acres of federal land that historically has been predominantly a longleaf pine ecosystem with small inclusions of hard wood hammock. For almost 30 years, prior to the PMC being established in 1967, fire had been excluded from the management of the property.  As a consequence, hardwoods encroached over the whole tract and very few Longleaf Pine were left.  Greg Hendricks, the Florida NRCS state resource conservationist and plant materials program manager; along with the state plant materials specialist, Mimi Williams, and the PMC staff, decided to do some restoration.

In conjunction with a major land clearing operation to establish a new 13 acre seed production field, the Brooksville PMC is in the process of restoring about 100 acres to its original longleaf pine savanna ecosystem. Phase one, which involved hard wood removal and initial herbicide treatments to control invasive species, was completed in 2010. Phase two will include herbicide treatments to control hardwood re-sprouts with long leaf pine planting scheduled for January 2012.

In April of 2010, to commemorate Earth Day and NRCS's 75th Anniversary, and also to help educate the public on longleaf pine ecosystems, Hendricks planted a ceremonial Longleaf Pine tree at the PMC.

Stay tuned for updates on this project.