Virginia Journal of Science 50(2): 169


A Plan for a Functional Native Virginia Longleaf Pine Seed Orchard

Philip Sheridan, Meadowview Biol. Research Station, Woodford, VA and Dept. of Biol. Sciences, ODU



 Increasing longleaf pine reforestation and restoration demands combined with erratic seed crops is resulting in a shortage of commercially available longleaf pine seedlings. There is currently no commercial supplier of indigenous Virginia longleaf pine seedlings, despite the higher quality of this material for in-state planting.  The Virginia Dept. of Forestry has initiated a native Virginia longleaf pine seed orchard but production from this facility is decades away.  A way to meet the demand for native Virginia longleaf pine seedlings is to utilize the remaining stands as seed sources.  Two sites contain 99% of Virginia's 4432 remaining longleaf pine, Blackwater Ecologic Preserve and Union Camp property at South Quay.  Although the Blackwater Preserve has almost half the longleaf pine trees in the state, the densest stands for seed harvest are planted Louisiana stock.  In addition, seed harvest operations could interfere with ongoing research efforts.  Recently, Union Camp Corporation has been acquired by International Paper Company which grows longleaf pine seedlings on a commercial basis.  The South Quay tract contains a 300 acre parcel with 2033 longleaf pine trees. Conservative estimates of seed production based on tree diameter result in a yield of almost 100,000 seed per year.  We suggest that International Paper Corporation be encouraged to participate in longleaf pine restoration in Virginia by managing this parcel for wildlife habitat, longleaf pine seed production, and ecosystem preservation.