Educational Video Recordings

Anthony J Savereno
Extension Agent
Clemson Extension

Savereno, A.J.*1, , Flynn, Sean2, , McNulty, Amanda3,
1 Extension Agent, Clemson Extension, Bishopville, SC, 29010
2 Production Manager, Clemson Extension, Sumter, SC, 29150
3 Extension Agent, Clemson Extension, Sumter, SC, 29150

It is estimated that longleaf pine forests historically covered as many as 93 million acres in the U.S. Southeast.  Only a little over 3 million acres of that ecosystem remain.  Interest in restoration of the longleaf ecosystem has increased recently, thanks in part to federal and state cost-share and technical assistance programs and Extension education and outreach.  While early efforts focused primarily on establishing the longleaf trees themselves, focus has expanded to establishing the entire ecosystem and its ecological functions.  Native groundcover (herbaceous plants growing on the forest floor) is a critical component of that ecosystem, providing fuel for prescribed fire, sources of wildlife food and cover, and resources for increasingly threatened native pollinators.  The demand for information on identification of native groundcover species and techniques to successfully esablish them has steadily grown.

Beginning in 2011, T.J. Savereno worked in conjunction with the U.S. Forest Service and partners to spearhead a project called "The South Carolina Longleaf Pine Ground-Layer Common Garden Study", which focused on groundcover species of the longleaf pine ecosystem.  Three different common-garden plots at Clemson University's Sandhill, Pee Dee, and Coastal Research and Education Centers became home to legumes, grasses, and asters established from wild seed collected at 23 locations in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia.  Focus of the study was to determine how well plant species from relatively wide-ranging geographical regions thrive in a common location.  When all data from the study have been analyzed and genetic data have been matched with performance in the common gardens, we will be able to make recommendations about where to collect seeds to restore longleaf pine habitat in specific parts of the Southeast.

In addition to the research, several workshops were held at the Sandhill and Pee Dee sites with the goal of educating participants about the importance of longleaf pine ecosystem groundcover, species identification, conservation of threatened populations, and the importance of using appropriate plant materials for habitat restoration.

The submitted video was filmed with Clemson's Amanda McNulty and Sean Flynn on August 31, 2018 and aired on "Making It Grow" on April 9, 2019.