I had a chance to visit the Moody Forest Natural Area last week. In 1999 The Nature Conservancy bought 4500 acres from the Moody family, and today co-owns and manages it with the Georgia State Government. The property includes 350 acres of old growth longleaf pine-wiregrass savannah along with 600 year old cypress trees on the Altamaha River.
I was with my wife and daughter, so because there were no restroom facilities, and my womenfolk's tolerance for mosquitoes and heat is low, my time was limited. Nevertheless, I found some interesting stuff.
This was the biggest slash pine I could find. Note the burn marks. The preserve is burned on a regular basis. I didn't see a single longleaf pine in the area I explored--just slash and loblolly.
This is a swamp chestnut oak. Though dominated by pine, there were a surprisingly large number and variety of oaks, including post, willow, southern red, overcup, and either black or Shumard's. I can't really tell the difference between those 2. Reportedly, the preserve hosts 200 year old post and overcup oaks.
Much of the landscape looks like this--open piney woods. Ferns were by far the most common plant in the undergrowth.
This forest floor was recently burned. The only people we encountered were workers with firestarting equipment.
This is the top of an endangered gopher tortoise burrow. I didn't see the tortoise but a couple of rabbits that probably used the burrow were a few feet from the entrance. The preserve also hosts endangered red cockaded woodpeckers and indigo snakes.
I found this interesting mix of species outside the preserve at the Roadside park adjacent to the Altamaha River off Highway 1. Here, post oaks which usually grow on dry uplands were covered with Spanish moss which usually grows on moist lowlands.
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