This is the way most of Seacrest Scrub Natural Area would have looked in the days before we humans began altering the land — open sand pine forest. We took this photo about 10 minutes into our (leisurely) walk along the Sand Pine Trail, the first sand pines that we saw. This section of Seacrest was relatively untouched by humans at the time Palm Beach County took ownership of the land, which is why these sand pines are here. Sand pines are adapted to the dry, nutrient-poor soils of scrub habitat. They are shorter than their slash pine cousins and have have shorter lifespans. Part of their adaptation to scrub life is their vulnerability to fire. Even a modest fire that would spare a slash pine will kill a sand pine, but at the same time give it new life. The seed-bearing cones of sand pines need the heat that comes with fire in order to open up and release the seeds inside. Next Photo.