Longleaf forests sustain life. Fire has helped shape this region’s landscape into an open forest, making it easy for animals to navigate and travel. The native understory cover, maintained by periodic fire, support diverse wildlife populations. Many species prefer open, grassy habitat of longleaf pine ecosystems. There are some birds and mammals that only make their home in longleaf pine forests. The threatened red-cockaded woodpecker is a habitat specialist, meaning it makes its home only in living longleaf pines by digging a cavity. Their species have declined drastically with the decline of longleaf, but are making a comeback thanks to the hard work of our stewards. Other mammals of the longleaf pine forest include the fox squirrel, bachman’s sparrow, black bear, bobwhite quail, wild turkey and many more.