Panama City Ecological Services / Fish & Wildlife Conservation Office
Conserving the Nature of America

 

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Pinelands


 


 

Pinelands are the most common plant communities in Florida. Pinelands provide a home for a diverse mix of plants and wildlife.

Pinelands must be maintained with controlled fires. Young pine seedlings require plentiful sunlight to survive, and fires destroy hardwood competitors that could eventually overshadow the pines. The thick bark of pines resists fire damage.

Red-cockaded woodpecker
Credit: Patty Kelly

Species found in pinelands

The red-cockaded woodpecker makes its home in mature pine forests. Longleaf pines are most commonly preferred, but other species of Southern pine are also inhabited by this endangered bird.  The red-cockaded woodpecker is best identified by its black and white striped back and large patches of white on its cheeks. Rarely visible, except perhaps during the breeding season and periods of territorial defense, the male has a small red streak on each side of its black cap called a cockade, hence its name.

Longleaf pines have dark green, shiny needles up to 15 inches long and large six- to 10-inch cones. A young longleaf can grow at least five feet high in one year. Older trees have straight trunks one to two feet in diameter, with branches only at the top third of the tree. Longleaf pines can live for up to 400 years.

Longleaf pines
Credit: Chuck Hess

 

 

 

 

 

Last updated: November 24, 2014