Covering 92 million acres from Virginia to Texas, the longleaf pine ecosystem was, in its prime, one of the most extensive and biologically diverse ecosystems in North America. Today, these magnificent forests have declined to a fraction of their original extent, threatening such species as the gopher tortoise, the red-cockaded woodpecker, and the Venus fly-trap. Lawrence S. Earley explores the history of these forests and the astonishing biodiversity within them, drawing on extensive research and telling the story through first-person travel accounts and interviews with foresters, ecologists, biologists, botanists, and landowners. The compelling story Earley tells here, offers hope that with continued human commitment, the longleaf pine might t just survive, but once again thrive.
LAWRENCE S. EARLEY, former editor of Wildlife in North Carolina magazine, is a writer and photographer living in Raleigh, North Carolina.