Chapter III: What We’re Doing
Preventing Devastation Proactively
Professional Knowledge Benefits and Protects Nature
A combination of many methods is often the most effective way to protect an existing ecosystem. Well-trained professionals manage dense growth that, left unattended, becomes a fire hazard in dry conditions. Controlling the growth of scrub and sculpting new space in a dense forest lets in enough sunshine to sustain the new longleaf pine seedlings. Those seedlings, along with the older pines, create a healthy mix of trees in many stages of life.
Many techniques exist, such as cutting crowded growth out of smaller areas or removing undesirable species of trees and scrub.
Another benefit of managing the pineland forests is reducing the hardwood competitors that would otherwise overwhelm the pine — reshaping that forest into a hardwood hammock, a very different ecosystem. Endangered creatures from one specific ecosystem, such as the pinelands’ red-cockaded woodpecker or the scrubs’ gopher tortoise, aren’t always viable in another.
An essential element of good forest management is simply planting trees — and trees experts know which species will sustain the lives within a specific ecosystem, bringing life back to Florida’s forests.