Project #300County Road 66, Mentone, AL 35984
Property Type: Forest Land, Habitat
As with everything, every property and landowner relationship is unique. With this piece of land, and some of the adjacent lands, the owner actively manages the properties using prescribed fire. As a matter of fact, upon the first visit to the site we were informed that prescribed fire management was a single person operation. 1,400+ acre burns managed by one person.
Several waterways and ponds (read small lakes) are present on the property and create suitable wetland habitat, but much of the areas outside more mesic sites have low soil nutrient availability and, generally, sustain shorter, scrubbier trees. By using fire to manage the property, forest densities remain lower, and competition is kept to a minimum allowing the limited resources to be spread around. Fire was commonly used throughout the southeastern United States as a management tool prior to the 20th century and benefits numerous facets of forest health.
But the fire managed forest just scratches the surface of the conservation goals that were met when this property was conserved. For one, the property shares three miles of its boundary with Little River Canyon National Preserve. Next, nearly four miles of public roadways pass through the property providing views of the managed forests, the natural creeks, Little River Canyon National Preserve, and the adjacent Shinbone Ridge. Last, the property is underlain by limestone, sandstone, and shale, which has led to the formation of several small caves and rock bluffs along the property ridge.
Both caves and areas of exposed stone where weather conditions can prove more extreme provide unique habitats for species that become highly adapted to these environments and, in many instances, are found nowhere else. We are extremely lucky to have been able to conserve this property and its habitats into perpetuity.