A restoration, fire, and adaptive management plan for The Nature Conservancy's McLean Savanna Preserve, Pender County, North Carolina
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In December 2008 the North Carolina Chapter of The Nature Conservancy purchased 540 acres adjacent to Holly Shelter Game Lands in Pender County, North Carolina from the William McLean Family. This tract of land is considered by North Carolina Natural Heritage Program to be “one of the best examples of very rare Pine Savanna variant, which is known from a few locations in the world” and houses 14 rare plant species, two of which are federally endangered. However, while components of the historic community types are still present, fire exclusion and forest conversion have resulted in an alteration of biodiversity and structure. The current condition of the site was evaluated through extensive field surveys and compared to presettlement vegetation data to determine the deviation from desired conditions and the efforts necessary for restoration. Management recommendations were devised for twelve different management units based on an exhaustive literature review. The reintroduction of fire and the implementation of an appropriate fire regime is the most critical component for restoration. In some areas additional mechanical, chemical, and manual applications are necessary to meet the desired objectives. Through the adherence to an adaptive management approach this plan will provide the means to restore the composition, structure, and function of health longleaf pine ecosystem.
DepartmentNicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences
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