"The trees grow spaced so far apart in pine savannas, sunshine bathing the ground, that you can see forever; they are much grassland as forest. The limbs of longleaf pine are gray and scaly and drape as the trees matures, and its needles are very long, up to seventeen inches, like a piano player’s fingers, and held upright at ends of the limbs, like a bride holds her bouquet. In 1791, naturalist and explorer William Bartram, in his Travels, called the Southern pinelands a “vast forest of the most stately pine trees that can be imagined.” (page 66)
"Pine plantations dishearten God. In them he aches for blooming things, and he misses the sun trickling through the tree crowns, and he pines for the crawling, spotted, scale-backed, bushy-tailed, leaf-hopping, chattering creatures. Most of all he misses the bright-winged, singing beings he cast as angels…. "(page 125)
In this last quote, Ray refers to the pine plantations (normally of loblolly or slash pine) that have replaced nearly 98% of the longleaf pine in the Southeast. The longleaf cannot survive a clear-cut, and when trees are cut, “tree-farmers” often replace them with other types of pines, with different bark and a thicker canopy. This replacement of pince has caused a loss of habitat for birds that like to nest within the bark and cavities of the longleaf pines as well as animals and plants that flourish under the thinly veiled canopy of the longleaf.