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PLANT ECOLOGIST DISCUSSES DRAMATIC DECLINE OF LONGLEAF PINE IN SOUTHEASTERN VIRGINIA

Plant ecologist and coordinator of the North Carolina Plant Conservation Program, Cecil Frost will speak on the "The History of Longleaf Pine, the Naval Stores Industry and Fire Ecology in Southeastern Virginia" at 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 13, in room 102 of the Mills Godwin Building.

Longleaf pine once covered 2,000 square miles of southeastern Virginia and now covers less than one square mile. Naval stores, tar, pitch and turpentine made from the gum of longleaf pine led to its decline, beginning with the first few dozen barrels of gum shipped to England in 1608 by Capt. John Smith. Tar and pitch were used to waterproof sails, coat the hulls of sailing ships and grease wagon axles. Frost will also discuss fire ecology, which longleaf pine depends on to maintain its habitats.

Frost received his bachelor's degree from the University of Kentucky and master's from East Carolina University. He studied under Lytton Musselman, Mary Payne Hogan professor of botany and chair of the Department of Biological Sciences, before completing his doctorate in plant ecology from the University of North Carolina. He has written chapters for four books on longleaf pine, white cedar, fire-dependent savannas and the Zuni Pine Barren Natural Area. He has written 31 articles published in journals and as special reports for various government and military agencies.

Previously, he worked for the North Carolina Natural Heritage Program, the NCDA plant Conservation Program, the Virginia Natural Heritage Program, the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and Merchants Mill Pond State Park. Frost is a member of the Botanical Society of America, Ecological Society of America, North Carolina Wild Flower Preservation Society and The Nature Conservancy.

For more information call 683-3595.

This article was posted on: November 6, 2003

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