Pine Straw

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I feel a little churlish complaining about a place where I was a guest, but I do not like this sort of forestry. Pine needles, mostly from longleaf, are used as garden ground cover. Raking and selling needles can be a lucrative business for forest owners.

But there is a cost. The needles need to be clean, i.e. not a lot of sticks, cones or generally anything that is not needles. The nature of raking also means the forest floor needs to be smooth, and raking takes nutrients out of the forest and stresses the trees.

The key reason I favor longleaf pine and am trying to establish longleaf on some of my land is because the longleaf ecology is so beautifully diverse.

The land ethic informs the way I think forest land should be managed. Those things that enhance the health and sustainability of the biotic community are good. We can and should profit from our land, but there is more to it.

Look at my pictures and tell me what you see. Sure, there are longleaf pine, but it is not a healthy and diverse longleaf pine ecology. It reminds me of a warehouse with stuff swept into the middle.

I understand that people should be able to make choices about their land. I also know that those choices can be better or worse. I will not be harvesting needles on any of my land. I love the complexity of the changing face of my land and I take joy in the the things that I do not control. A forest is more than the trees, wood and pine straw.