The hit country song Wagon Wheel, written in 1973, begins with the lyric “Headed down south to the land of the pines.”
Not exactly. A 1919 headline warned “Supplies of Southern Pine Likely to be Exhausted in Ten Years.” Today, only 3% of the supply remains.
Smithsonian Magazine interviewed Chuck Hemard, author of the 2018 book “The Pines,” about what allowed any of the Southern pines to remain, rather than going completely extinct. His answer: that the remaining pines were essentially an ecological afterthought.
Despite deforestation, many of the remaining longleaf pines you feature in your book have survived hundreds years. What do you think help accounted for their survival?
Because they’re literally remnants or leftovers, meaning at the time many of these logging sites had trees left on them that were either undesirable as merchantable timber, or located geographically on a spot that was hard to log.
National Menace of Our Depleted Forests: Supplies of Southern Pine Likely to be Exhausted in Ten Years, and Program of Conservation Is Needed to Protect Country and Its Industries
Published: Sunday, May 11, 1919