13 thoughts on “Serotinous Cones, Dwarf Pine Plains

  1. This photograph kicks off an unofficial project for me: to photograph the rather unsung central Pine Barrens area of Long Island. The goal: stick to black and white, post periodically, and shoot with a normal focal length lens. The Dwarf Pines is a unique ecosystem within that area, characterized by sandy soils, dwarf Pitch Pines, Bearberry, Huckleberry and Scrub Oak. There are several thousand acres of Dwarf Pines in the Westhampton area both north and south of Sunrise Highway and the Gabreski Airport (formerly the site of the Suffolk County Air Force Base). I’ve been hiking this area (and in the surrounding 100,000 acres) for 35 years.

  2. I agree, this is lovely, and it will be really interesting to see the series on the Pine Barrens. Either I never knew the word serotinous, or I had forgotten…makes a great title. I remembered the action, that fire is needed, but not the word. Nice light on these cones, and nice highlights bringing out the curvy needles – so many pines have stiff, straight needles.

    1. You have an impressive memory for the science, Lynn. The problem with these fire-climax forests is convincing the public that some fire management is healthy in some instances. That’s not an easy thing to do in densely populated areas.

      1. For obvious reasons, and I’m pretty sure the same problem exists outside of populated areas in the west, for other reasons. This PBS story talks about some of the complexities with controlled burns.
        http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/next/earth/controlled-fires-could-actually-save-forests-and-fight-climate-change/ Whatever the case, it just seems intuitive that honing as close as possible to an ecosystem’s natural processes, without imposing human desires on the ecosystem, would make sense. Good luck with that, right?!

        1. A big like for your observations, and thanks for the link.

          Not sure if you recall the big 1995 Westhampton fire which burned over 3,000 acres (including some of the Dwarf Pine Plains and several homes and businesses). It was very difficult to deal with, given the lack of fire management. Here’s an interesting article from 20 years later:


  3. Interesting – and I don’t remember that fire – I was up in Putnam County and my life was a bit tough at the time; I was focused on getting through the day, I think. 😉 Though the burns may not be happening, at least it looks like there have been other changes that are good.

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