Project #3372641 County Road 65, Wadley, AL 36276
Property Type: Forest Land, Habitat
With all of the moving pieces and parts involved in the establishment of a conservation easement, projects do not always get completed in the year which they began. Beginning in 2018, Foothills Land Conservancy staff started visiting this property to document as much of the biota, flora, and physical features as possible, but ultimately the easement was not recorded until 2019.
One of the major conservation components of this property is the planted and actively managed longleaf pine (Pinus palustris) forest. Historically, longleaf pine dominated the southeastern landscape in the Coastal Plain and Piedmont regions. However, as the land was colonized, cut, and converted, fewer and fewer longleaf remained. As a highly fire adapted species, longleaf were not equipped to compete with fast-growing species like loblolly and slash pine. This factor would haunt the species even after lands were converted back to woodlands from agriculture as loblolly were a quicker return on investment. Efforts have been increased in recent decades to promote planting longleaf pine as their drought tolerance also means they tend to have a greater southern pine beetle tolerance. Red-cockaded woodpecker (Dryobates borealis) is one of the few woodpeckers to make nesting cavities in live trees and prefer mature trees with open midstories and understories. The hope, and intent, is that longleaf planting efforts coupled with regular prescribed fire regimes, like those used on this property, will bring both species closer to their former status on the landscape.
Variation on the landscape results in conditions that do not entirely suite longleaf pine. Another major conservation value for this property occurs in these areas. A large creek and several rock outcrops cross the landscape providing unique and diverse habitat that some species require in order to succeed. Alabama has some of the highest numbers of at-risk freshwater fish species in the United States and the Tallapoosa River Watershed, which includes the property, has been prioritized as a conservation target to preserve aquatic species and their habitats.