Restoration of shortleaf pine in the Southern United States - strategies and tactics.
Shortleaf pine (Pinus echinata Mill.) is the most widely distributed and poorly understood of the four major species of southern yellow pine. The area of southern forests dominated by shortleaf pine forest types has declined by more than 50 percent since 1980, with the most dramatic declines found in states east of the Mississippi River. To counteract this decline, the Shortleaf Pine Initiative was launched in the spring of 2013 by a host of partners including the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service, other Federal and State agencies, universities, major conservation organizations, and other private partners in the region. The release of the Shortleaf Pine Restoration Plan in the summer of 2016 outlines a series of optimum restoration strategies, opportunities for coordination among proponents interested in shortleaf pine, and ways for partners to work together. However, geographic conditions and forest types are highly variable across the 23 States where shortleaf pine is found, and as a result, different approaches to restoration will be required in different regions. The management strategies and silvicultural tactics that managers should consider in application to the restoration and management of shortleaf pine in pure and mixed stands across the native range of the species are discussed.