This past year the Southeast Regional Land Conservancy (http://serlc.org/) added a key jewel to its crown of protected land in the high mountains of the Southern Appalachians. Undisturbed forest habitat with so many Old Growth attributes is quite rare and restricted in our region due to the intensity of logging throughout history. In 2010 a tract with such grand forests was added to the protected lands within The Preserve at Little Pine in Madison County.
The 107-acre tract covers undulating mountainous coves and ridges. It became part of the extensive protected easement lands that now total one thousand two hundred twenty-one (1,221) acres…not a small amount for mountain land close to Asheville. Large, continuous blocks of land are crucial to population health of plant and animal species alike. Numerous rare plant species on the North Carolina Watchlist are present on the site. Many indicator species associated with the unusual circumneutral geologic conditions also thrive in the easement. These habitats are now protected for all future generations to come.