pinhoti national recreation trail / pinhoti millennium legacy trail
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wildlife / ecosystem restoration.
US Forest Service
Welcome to the Talladega National Forest
Can you see two different types of forest here?
The ridgetop area of pine trees with an open park-like setting are managed for the
endangered red-cockaded woodpecker, and other species such as quail, turkey and fox
squirrel. The red-cockaded woodpecker requires the open areas you see here to survive.
The hardwood trees in the drainages or valleys are managed for wildlife, and to protect
The Forest Service ensures that ecosystems survive through the wise use of timber
management and prescribed fire. A variety of ecosystems provide for a diverse, healthy
and productive forest.
Where did they go?
Longleaf forests once stretched from Virginia through Florida and west to Texas.
Today, only enough longleaf forests remain to fill an area the size of Virginia. Most of this
ecosystem was lost when wildfires were no longer allowed to burn naturally, and when
lands were cleared for crops, timber and grazing.
The longleaf forests are linked to the declining of some wildlife species such as the fox
squirrel, red-cockaded woodpecker and Bachman's sparrow.
Over 190 species of plants associated with longleaf ecosystems are considered to be
The endangered red-cockaded woodpecker usually selects older, living longleaf pines to
build a cavity for nesting and roosting. Depending on the age of the tree, it can take this
bird six months to several years to construct a cavity.
One of the greatest influences on the longleaf ecosystems is FIRE.
In the Talladega National Forest, controlled or prescribed burns are used to mimic
natural fires. You may see Forest Service employees conducting these burns, which are
necessary to maintain this important ecosystem.
This ecosystem requires regular prescribed burns to:
encourage re-growth of native plants,
reduce wildfire hazards,
enhance wildlife habitat, and
maintain the open, park-like setting you see here.
The plants and animals you may see or hear today need fire to survive. This Longleaf Pine
ecosystem is a fire dependant community