Longleaf pine forests once dominated the Coastal Plain region of Alabama, which covers much of the lower portion of the state.
It was excluded only from the Black Belt and northwest portions of the state. North of the Black Belt, longleaf pine forests could be found on dry ridgetops in the Piedmont, Valley and Ridge, Cumberland Plateau, and Highland Rim physiographic sections as far north as Marshall, Etowah, and DeKalb counties. These ridgetop longleaf forests are typically called mountain longleaf forest. Native to the southeastern United States, the longleaf pine (Pinus palustris) grows from Virginia to Texas, inhabiting a variety of sites from very dry to seasonally wet areas. Its original range has been sharply reduced because of agriculture, timbering, and fire suppression. In Alabama, longleaf pine forests are currently confined to the East Gulf Coastal Plain physiographic section, although there are some mountain longleaf stands in the Appalachian foothills and Piedmont. The best place to see areas of mountain longleaf is in the Talladega National Forest and Mountain Longleaf National Wildlife Refuge in Calhoun, Cleburne, Clay, and Talladega Counties. The best examples of Coastal Plain longleaf pine forests may be found in Covington and Escambia counties within the Conecuh National Forest. Escambia County has the highest concentration of longleaf forests in Alabama and one of the highest in the nation.