"Prior to European settlement of North America, the landscape of the Southeastern United States was dominated by an estimate 55 million hectares of old growth forests (Ware et al. 1993). Since that time, three centuries of land clearing for agriculture and other uses has reduced the extent of forest cover to 60% of its former range..."
Wilson, Michael D. and Watts, B. D., Breeding Bird Communities in Pine Plantations On the Coastal Plain of North Carolina (2000). The Chat, 64(1).