The Loblolly Pine is an iconic tree in the Southeastern United States, dominating the southern pine forests and being grown for lumber in plantations in the region. It is tall, skinny in shape, and a vigorous grower. This species was considered culturally important enough to be taken into space as seeds along with four other species in Apollo 14 and grown as “moon trees” back on Earth.
However, the loblolly pine was not always the dominant tree in the South. The longleaf pine forests reigned until European settlement and regular fire management allowed the loblolly to survive past its role as a pioneer tree species. Research has shown that loblolly pine forests and woodlands may become converted into denser, shadier mixed hardwood stands without consistent fire management.
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