Planting Loblolly Pine
in Cutover Longleaf Pine Forests by Civilian Conservation Corps
Enrollees in the 1930's and 40's
(bolded words in text indicate key words
During the years of the Great Depression, times were tough for
many Americans. To help fight off these hard times, the thirty second
President (Franklin D. Roosevelt) created jobs for millions of unemployed
young men to do projects which helped protect the environment. These
people formed what was called the Civilian
Conservation Corps. In much of the South, land that was logged
of all of its trees stretched as far as you could see. Young longleaf
pine trees were difficult to find and hard to plant, so in place
the Civilian Conservation Corps planted this barren land with loblolly
or slash pine.
Accepting the Presidential nomination on July 1, 1932, New York
Governor Franklin Roosevelt planned a fight against soil
erosion and declining timber
resources, utilizing the unemployed of large urban areas. He proposed
to recruit thousands of unemployed young men (mostly white males
between the ages of 18 and 25 years old), enroll them in a peacetime
army, and send them into battle against destruction and erosion
of our natural resources.
The Civilian Conservation Corps (aka
camps were set up all over the United States. The men
planted trees, built public parks, drained swamps to fight malaria,
restocked rivers with fish, worked on flood control projects and
a range of other work that helped to conserve the environment. Between
1933 and 1941 over 3,000,000 men served in the CCC. The pay was
$30 dollars a month with $22 dollars of it being sent home to dependents.
Throughout the Corps, more than 40,000 illiterates were taught to
read and write.
CCC enrollees throughout the country were credited with renewing
the nation's decimated forests by planting an estimated three billion
trees from 1933 to 1942. In the South, CCC enrollees began to plant
large areas of cutover land with pine seedlings. Unfortunately,
the forestry community at the time saw longleaf pine as a slow-growing
tree, difficult to regenerate. So, in place of native
longleaf, off-site loblolly
or slash pine were carefully planted in tidy rows, amid the skeletons
of the ancient pine forests. This new crop of
loblolly and slash pine
plantations were less tolerant of fire then longleaf pine trees.
In order to protect this new investment of trees, a crusade spearheaded
by the Southern Forestry Educational Project
was initiated to preach that fire was a destructive agent in the
landscape and needed to be snuffed out. This message was later passed
on to Smokey Bear.
Key Words and Concepts (click
on for glossary definition): CCC,
Conservation Corps, loblolly
Forestry Educational Project, timber.