Remembering Lost Pines
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Saturday, 08 October 2011
Texas, United States
In the hands of Team Geo-Wranglers.
This is not collectible.
Use TB425R1 to reference this item.
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The mission of the trackable is to gather some memories from people who visited the park prior to the devistating fires that destroyed most of the park. Please post pictures and photos of pre and post fire pictures of the park. Please put this trackable in any of the remaining caches in the park and let it travel around the park and around the Central Texas Area.
ARE THE LOST PINES REALLY LOST?
People have long wondered why the pines are here. The stark contrast of the deep sandy soils and pine trees, compared with the surrounding oak savanna and grassland prairie, begs the question: Are the Pines really lost?
Legend has it that American Indians traveled here from East Texas and planted seedlings to remind them of the home they left behind. Other myths claim that the pines got “lost” or that they were once part of a continuous stretch of loblolly forest from the east.
The Lost Pines are significant in that they represent the westernmost stand of loblolly pine trees in the United States. Separated from the East Texas Pineywoods by nearly 100 miles, pollen records indicate the pines have persisted in this area for over 18,000 years. Sandy and gravely soils with a sub-surface layer of water preserving clay help to create an environment where loblolly pines can flourish. Over time the climate became drier but the local sandy aquifer-laced soils provided conditions for them to thrive. The pines have become genetically unique, having adapted to 30% less rainfall than loblollies from East Texas and adjacent states.
Over 75,000 acres of loblolly pines, known as the Lost Pines ecosystem, lie scattered across sections of five counties on the Texas Coastal Plain. A portion of this magnificent pine forest is located in Bastrop and Buescher State Parks.
An Island of Diversity
Bastrop and Buescher State Parks lie within the ecological region known as Post Oak Savannah. A mosaic of pine, oaks, shrubs, grassland and mixed flowering plants create a diverse environment important to many species of wildlife including the pileated woodpecker, the largest of the woodpeckers. The seasonally moist sandy soils of the Lost Pines provide critical habitat for the largest remain ing population of the endangered Houston toad. The Houston toad was recognized as an endan gered species in 1970. Loss of habitat in its historic range, largely due to urbanization, has caused a marked decline in populations of this species in recent decades.
Protecting the Lost Pines
Over the past 150 years, human activities such as logging, farming and fire suppression have changed the natural environment. In recent years, population growth and economic development have further fragmented the Lost Pines ecosystem. TPWD has developed new strategies to protect this unique resource. These include land acquisition, public education and prescribed fire. Prescribed burning is necessary to reduce large fuel loads that can cause wildfires. These purposefully set and monitored fires increase the diversity of native plants and grasses thus improving the overall health and viability of the Lost Pines ecosystem.
, on September 6th, 2011 - Almost the entire Lost Pine State park was leveled by a devastating wildfire in the eastern part of the state. That fire burned more than 34,000 acres and destroyed more than a thousand homes. The dry weather, high winds, and extreme heat this summer have contributed to the conditions that enabled the wildfires to burn unchecked even with valent efforts by the many firefighters to attempt to control the fire.
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