Benefits of a Healthy Ecosystem
"Wow, everything in an ecosystem really IS interconnected! What other benefits does a healthy longleaf pine ecosystem provide?"
Healthy ecosystems are part of an even bigger web of environmental systems that all depend on each other. Check out some of the other cool functions a healthy longleaf pine ecosystem offers to the community.
When trees and plants use photosynthesis to create energy, they draw carbon dioxide in from the atmosphere, and release the oxygen we need to breathe. That carbon dioxide helps create the roots, stems, and leaves of the plant. In other words, the plant is made of carbon. Longleaf pine trees and the grasses that grow on the forest floor grow deep roots, which means the plants store or 'sink' carbon underground. Keeping this carbon out of the atmosphere helps slow the rate of climate change. So - healthy longleaf ecosystems actually help with climate change!
Healthy forest lands absorb rain water, refill underground aquifers, cool and cleanse water, slow storm runoff, reduce flooding, sustain watershed stability and resilience, and provide critical habitats for fish and wildlife. In longleaf pine forests, bogs or areas that have standing water during certain parts of the year, also provide valuable habitat for many rare species of plants and amphibian species such as frogs and salamanders.