The LandTrust for Central North Carolina is excited to announce the acquisition of the Smith Branch Longleaf Preserve. This 105-acre property adjoins the Uwharrie National Forest in Montgomery County. Previously protected with a conservation easement in February, the current landowner offered The LandTrust the opportunity to purchase the property. This purchase ensures future continual management of the unique longleaf pine ecosystem found on the property.
The current landowner managed Smith Branch Longleaf Preserve impeccably for longleaf pine enhancement and restoration for the past 25 years. Management practices included replacing loblolly stands with longleaf pine plantings, and a rigorous prescribed burn regime. Existing old growth longleaf can also found on the property. Prescribed burns are conducted every two years on the 105-acre property. This habitat management practice prevents hardwood trees from overtaking the longleaf stands.
Prescribed burning also opens the forest floor to sunlight, allowing a variety of unique wildflowers to grow. The rare blue flag iris (Iris prismatica), and bog spicebush (Lindera subcoriacea) are found on the property. Other unique wildflowers found on the preserve include yellow-fringed orchids, green-fringed orchids, Piedmont indigo bush, Carolina lily, grass pink orchid, and Virginia bunchflower. Fox squirrels and timber rattlesnake also occur on the property.
“The LandTrust is both excited and humbled to take over ownership of this unique site,” states Executive Director Travis Morehead. “It will be our honor to continue the great management started here so many years ago to the benefit of the plants and wildlife found on the property.”
The purchase of the conservation easement was made possible by grants from the North Carolina Clean Water Management Trust Fund and the Open Space Institute’s Southeast Resilience Landscapes Fund. Generous private donations to The LandTrust for Central North Carolina ensured the purchase of this important property. To support The LandTrust and great conservation projects like this one, become a member today at www.landtrustcnc.org.
To learn more about this project or how you can support The LandTrust for Central North Carolina, contact Crystal Cockman at 704-647-0302 or firstname.lastname@example.org