Pine Forest

North Carolina Longleaf Honor Roll

Longleaf pine forests are valuable– providing wildlife habitat and recreation as well as serving as an economic and cultural pillar of North Carolina. Most longleaf pine is owned by private landowners; it is important to recognize those people who are doing a good job managing their longleaf pine and thank them for a job well done, but also to encourage their neighbors and friends to undertake similar activities.

That’s why the North Carolina Longleaf Coalition created the Longleaf Honor Roll to recognize those landowners who are working to improve stands and balance all the values of a longleaf forest – wood products, wildlife habitat, recreation as well as aesthetics.

Who is Eligible?
Every longleaf stand matters, so no forest is too small or too young to qualify if it meets eligibility requirements. Landowners must:

  1. Have a current forest management plan
  2. Actively manage their longleaf with prescribed fire:
  3. For longleaf < 5 years old, must complete at least one non-site-prep prescribed burn OR
    For longleaf > 5 years old, must complete at least two prescribed burns in the last ten years
  4. Reduce negative impacts from pine straw production, if harvesting straw, by raking on rotation with periods of rest and burning

How do I nominate a landowner?
Any natural resource professional can nominate a landowner to the Honor Roll though at any time. Nominations will be reviewed and awarded periodically throughout the year.
More details on the nomination process can be found in the nomination form and FAQs.

Why a forest management plan?
Whether you are planting seedlings or have mature trees, following a multi-resource forest management plan is the best step to ensure that you maximize the values of your longleaf pine forest and other timber resources on your property.

Where does fire fit in?
Fire is a necessary part of the longleaf pine ecosystem. This once common ecosystem evolved over thousands of years with naturally occurring lightning fires. Longleaf with their thick flaky bark and shielded growth bud are nearly fire-resistant. Today, natural fires are mimicked under controlled conditions. Prescribed fires keep hardwood trees from reaching the mid-story and shading out the forest floor. These fires remove leaf litter so longleaf seeds can reach bare soil to germinate and stimulate groundcover plants to flower, produce seeds, and spread.

What about pine straw?
Many landowners choose to rake and sell pine straw from their longleaf pine lands. This economic use of the property can affect the ability for the longleaf pine stand to provide the full array of values of the longleaf ecosystem. Therefore, while lands that are raked for pine straw can qualify for the NC Longleaf Honor Roll, they must not be raked annually, but rather on a rotation to include rest and burning. For more information on the North Carolina Longleaf Honor Roll, please read the FAQs or contact us at