Restoration and management of shortleaf pine in pure and mixed stands--science, empirical observation, and the wishful application of generalitiesThis article is part of a larger document. View the larger document here.
Shortleaf pine (Pinus echinata Mill.) is the only naturally-occurring pine distributed throughout the Ozark-Ouachita Highlands. Once dominant on south-facing and ridgetop stands and important in mixed stands, it is now restricted to south- and southwestfacing slopes in the Ouachita and southern Ozark Mountains, and to isolated pure and mixed stands in the northern Ozarks. Its position as a minority component in mixed stands has declined to the status of relict. Restoration and management of shortleaf pine fall into three categories--science, empirical observation, and wishful application of generalities. In science, knowledge exists about regenerating pure stands of shortleaf pine through plantation forestry or natural regeneration, about managing second-growth stands to restore pine-bluestem communities, and about applying growth and yield models for pure stands of the species. Empirically, evidence suggests that relying on advance growth rather than seedfall will better regenerate shortleaf pine naturally over time, in conjunction with prescribed burning. Generalities become more wishful when considering the use of herbicides to supplement fire, and when thinking about effective ways to underplant a minor and varying shortleaf pine component in hardwood stands so as to recover the dramatically depleted area of oak-pine woodlands--the omitted step in restoring this species fully in the Ozark-Ouachita Highlands.