Forests have a prominent role in carbon sequestration but are affected by various natural and human disturbances, particularly fire. Understanding carbon storage in terrestrial ecosystems is particularly difficult when considering prescribed fire, because each fire emits carbon but is balanced over time by vegetation regrowth after fire. Quantifying the differences in carbon emissions between prescribed fire and wildfire is critical to understanding long-term carbon storage potential. Also, southeastern pinelands face changes in their structure and function, particularly loss in biodiversity and endemic species, when their required fire regime is altered. USDA Forest Service scientists at the agency's Southern Research Station simulated how carbon and species dynamics differ in a longleaf pine (Pinus palustris) ecosystem in Georgia under three fire scenarios: fire exclusion, prescribed fire, and multiple wildfires. With the exception of fire exclusion, all scenarios resulted in net carbon emissions to the atmosphere; however, prescribed fire produced the lowest carbon emissions and maintained more stable aboveground biomass than the wildfire scenarios. The fire exclusion scenario required approximately 100 years to obtain above ground forest carbon greater than and net carbon emissions less than that of the prescribed fire scenario. Overall, this study supports the use of prescribed fire in southeastern pinelands to minimize carbon emissions and preserve native biodiversity.