Longleaf pine trees have been prized by lumbermen, shipbuilders, turpentiners, homebuilders, and others since the discovery and settling of the New World. More recently, its value as the anchor of one of the most diverse forest ecosystems on the planet has become apparent. The tree itself is remarkable for a number of reasons. It is the longest living of the southern pines, with some reaching more than 500 years before succumbing, usually to lightning. It is tolerant of fires virtually throughout its life, surviving when its woody neighbors often do not. It is resistant to attack by southern pine bark beetles, the bane of its cousins. It is also resistant to perhaps the most important of the southern pine diseases, fusiform rust, a fungal disease that attacks pines, weakening their stems and often resulting in breakage and certainly in lessening their utility and economic value. Highly adapted to its native environment, longleaf pines have proven to be more resistant than other pines to hurricane-force winds.
Make your way back to the entrance of 745A and explore more longleaf habitat along the ridgetop or continue your journey along FS 745 0.46 miles to the next interpretive site on your left.