Arkansas and Pine Trees
December 7, 2019
They may not be as impressive as the Sequoias, but they sure make up for that in their abundance in the South. Pine trees - in particular, the loblolly pine, characterized by its tall, limbless shape.
There are four native species of pine in Arkansas: shortleaf pine, loblolly pine, longleaf pine, and slash pine (loblolly and shortleaf are most common). Many telephone poles were once loblolly pines. Worldwide there are 115 different species of the pine tree.
The pine was adopted as the Arkansas State Tree by the General Assembly of 1939. The loblolly and shortleaf pine may grow to be 100 feet tall and can be found in Arkansas' two National Forests - the Ouachita National Forest and the Ozark St. Francis National Forest.
Before European-American settlement, almost all of Arkansas was forested with notable diversity. Early logging was small scale but by the end of the 19th century, railroads brought mass access to external markets, and Arkansas timber left the state at a rapid rate. By 1930, many areas were “logged out.” Since then, however, strong markets and improved forestry techniques have contributed to the pine forests’ recovery. A 2005 assessment revealed more than 5 million acres of pine (both loblolly and shortleaf) and mixed-pine forest in Arkansas. To put that in terms that I understand, that's an area that nearly 40 miles by 200 miles. That's a lot of pine - and a lot of logging trucks barreling down the road looking like they are going to run over you!