Date of Award
Master of Science (MS)
Longleaf pine restoration has been a topic of great concern and intrigue in the southeast and has taken on new fervor in recent decades as restoration methods continue to develop. Many landowners and forest managers are now pursuing ecological forestry and restoration ecology in great numbers as a new form of land management. However, niche regions can often be overlooked, as is the case with the Carolina Sandhills Wiregrass Gap, an area devoid of wiregrass and one that is on the outskirt regions of the historical longleaf pine range. Field studies were conducted pre- and post-harvest during two growing seasons in dense loblolly pine stands, actively being converted to longleaf pine habitat through restoration timber harvesting. Located in Camden, South Carolina, the study site was positioned directly in the heart of the South Carolina Sandhills Wiregrass Gap. We conducted an abiotic environmental inventory to monitor disturbance responses and ecological trends following restoration timber harvesting. Then, using ecological criteria characteristic of longleaf-sandhill ecology, we developed a series of habitat suitability models for longleaf pine restoration across the region using spatial modeling applications. Finally, harvesting productivity was investigated as a logistical approach to test the economic feasibility of restoration harvesting in South Carolina. Our findings indicate that logging slash manipulation significantly affects abiotic responses following disturbances and that this type of restoration approach is profitable for both landowners and loggers. Moreover, almost 30% of this unique ecoregion could support such an operation based on our model outputs, indicating strong restoration potential.
Murray, Jacob W., "Longleaf Pine Restoration in the South Carolina Sandhills Wiregrass Gap" (2021). All Theses. 3707.
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