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192 pp., 12 x 10, 160 color plates., 7 halftones, 1 maps, index

ISBN  978-0-8078-3575-3
Published: October 2012

Longleaf, Far as the Eye Can See

A New Vision of North America's Richest Forest

By Bill Finch, Beth Maynor Young, Rhett Johnson and John C. Hall

Foreword by E. O. Wilson

Longleaf forests once covered 92 million acres from Texas to Maryland to Florida. These grand old-growth pines were the "alpha tree" of the largest forest ecosystem in North America and have come to define the southern forest. But logging, suppression of fire, destruction by landowners, and a complex web of other factors reduced those forests so that longleaf is now found only on 3 million acres. Fortunately, the stately tree is enjoying a resurgence of interest, and longleaf forests are once again spreading across the South. Blending a compelling narrative by writers Bill Finch, Rhett Johnson, and John C. Hall with Beth Maynor Young's breathtaking photography, Longleaf, Far as the Eye Can See invites readers to experience the astounding beauty and significance of the majestic longleaf ecosystem.

The authors explore the interactions of longleaf with other species, the development of longleaf forests prior to human contact, and the influence of the longleaf on southern culture, as well as ongoing efforts to restore these forests. Part natural history, part conservation advocacy, and part cultural exploration, this book highlights the special nature of longleaf forests and proposes ways to conserve and expand them.

About the Author

Bill Finch is senior fellow at the Ocean Foundation and executive director of the Mobile Botanical Gardens. Beth Maynor Young is a conservation photographer and a conservation realtor. Rhett Johnson is cofounder and president of the Longleaf Alliance, Inc. John C. Hall is curator of the Black Belt Museum at the University of West Alabama. Young and Hall are coauthors of Headwaters: A Journey on Alabama Rivers.


"[Longleaf, Far as the Eye Can See] pays tribute to a tree that's been a fixture in the Southern forest for centuries."
--Garden & Gun blog

“I lost several hours paging through the evocative pictures in this book, and the text is equally absorbing.”
--The New York Times

"Longleaf is not a story of loss, but one of deep reverence for the grandeur and mystery of these regions."
--American Scientist

Longleaf makes an insightful and visually attractive read for the nature aficionado or wood enthusiast."
--Austin American-Statesman

"The lush images and meticulously researched story combine to make the case that restoring longleaf pine is not only possible, but worthwhile."
--Nature Conservancy

"This book by Finch and colleagues, with its many beautiful color photographs and well-written text, explains longleaf's history, ecology, and the reasons why it deserves a larger place in contemporary forests. . . . Recommended. Lower-division undergraduates and above; general readers."

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