This week in our North Carolina Icons series, we jump to #94 on Our State magazine’s list of 100 North Carolina Icons: the Longleaf Pine. Our State magazine advises, “Wander among the longleaf pine at Weymouth Woods Sandhills Nature Preserve in Southern Pines.” When planning your visit, check The State Library of North Carolina‘s links and resources that go along with the checklist. We have two book recommendations to help you learn more about the Longleaf Pine.
These books are to be enjoyed with your favorite beverage, a glass of which you should raise high as you recite the North Carolina State Toast (yes, we have one!):
Here’s to the land of the cotton bloom white,
Where the scuppernong perfumes the breeze at night,
Where the soft southern moss and jessamine mate,
‘Neath the murmuring pines of the Old North State!
Here’s to the land where the galax grows,
Where the rhododendron’s rosette glows,
Where soars Mount Mitchell’s summit great,
In the “Land of the Sky,” in the Old North State!
Here’s to the land where maidens are fair,
Where friends are true and cold hearts rare,
The near land, the dear land, whatever fate,
The blest land, the best land, the Old North State!
Longleaf, Far as the Eye Can See: A New Vision of North America’s Richest Forest is part natural history, part conservation advocacy, and part cultural exploration; it highlights the special nature of longleaf forests and proposes ways to conserve and expand them. Longleaf forests once covered 92 million acres from Texas to Maryland to Florida. These grand old-growth pines were the “alpha tree” of the largest forest ecosystem in North America and have come to define the southern forest. But a complex web of factors has reduced those forests so that longleaf is now found only on 3 million acres. Fortunately, longleaf forests are once again spreading across the South. Blending a compelling narrative by writers Bill Finch, Rhett Johnson, and John C. Hall with Beth Maynor Young’s breathtaking photography, Longleaf, Far as the Eye Can See invites readers to experience the astounding beauty and significance of the majestic longleaf ecosystem.
In Looking for Longleaf: The Fall and Rise of an American Forest, Lawrence S. Earley explores the history of these forests and the astonishing biodiversity of the longleaf ecosystem, drawing on extensive research and telling the story through first-person travel accounts and interviews with foresters, ecologists, biologists, botanists, and landowners. For centuries, these vast grass-covered forests provided pasture for large cattle herds, in addition to serving as the world’s greatest source of naval stores. They sustained the exploitative turpentine and lumber industries until nearly all of the virgin longleaf had vanished. Looking for Longleaf demonstrates how, in the twentieth century, forest managers and ecologists struggled to understand the special demands of longleaf and to halt its overall decline. The compelling story Earley tells here offers hope that with continued human commitment, the longleaf pine might not just survive, but once again thrive.
Keep an eye on our NC icons tag as we post weekly recommendations about North Carolina icons and the books to go with them.