The Postal Service issued a souvenir sheet of ten 34-cent Longleaf Pine Forest stamps on April 26, 2002, in Tallahassee, Florida. The stamps, designed by Ethel Kessler, Bethesda, Maryland, and illustrated by John D. Dawson, Hilo, Hawaii, went on sale nationwide April 27, 2002.
The Longleaf Pine Forest stamps are the fourth in an educational series designed to promote appreciation of North America's major plant and animal communities. The previous issuances in the Nature of America series were the Sonoran Desert (1999), Pacific Coast Rain Forest (2000), and Great Plains Prairie (2001).
Although greatly reduced in size, the longleaf pine forest still occupies part of its natural range in the coastal plains from southeastern Virginia to eastern Texas. Characterized by the longleaf pine, this unique ecosystem includes many plant communities that vary with soil type, moisture, and frequency of fire. This "forest built by fire" still supports a rich diversity of 300 animal species, including the endangered red-cockaded woodpecker. A description of the longleaf pine forest and a numbered key to the artwork appear on the back of the sheet, along with a corresponding list of common and scientific names for twenty-seven selected species inhabiting the forest.
Sennett Security Products printed 70 million stamps in the gravure process.
Postal Bulletin (March 21, 2002).