This project seeks to re-establish a fire-maintained Mountain Longleaf ecosystem on Lavender Mountain, just north of Rome, GA. The mountain is part of the Berry College campus, and is home to one of the few remaining relict stands of Mountain Longleaf Pine. Aside from conservation of biodiversity, two main reasons argue for the restoration of the longleaf pine ecosystem. First, in comparison with other pines, Longleaf Pines are less susceptible to regional diseases and pests, including the Southern Pine Beetle. Second, healthy stands must be maintained by frequent controlled (prescribed) burns, which reduces the likelihood of devastating wildfires in managed areas.
In addition to re-establishing the longleaf ecosystem on the Berry College campus, our project seeks to involve students and other community members actively in the conservation process, and to educate the public on the advantages of Longleaf Pines and proper fire management.