Kingsland Prairie is a mosaic of prairie-like openings interspersed with savannas and woodlands on a very unusual type of saline soil. The tiny geocarpon plant, listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act, is found here, as are a number of other plants considered rare in Arkansas. At this site, The Nature Conservancy's emphasis is on ecologically compatible forestry: working with forest landowners to demonstrate the connections between ecosystem health and economic return.
There are no marked trails. The terrain is mostly level.
For safety reasons, visitation is allowed only outside of hunting seasons due to a private hunt club lease on the property. Please call the Arkansas Field Office at (501) 614-5089 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for information and directions.
Plant species of special concern at Kingsland Prairie include:
Overhead, look for Bachman's sparrow (Aimophila aestivalis) and red-shouldered hawk (Buteo lineatus), both rare species in Arkansas. On the ground, watch for signs of raccoon (Procyon lotor hirtus), coyote (Canis latrans frustror), and white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus).
Kingsland Prairie's saline soil habitat is extremely rare, making it a high priority for conservation. The unusual soil type—Lafe soil—is high in salts toxic to most plants, so most of the site was unusable for the pine sawtimber production that dominates the surrounding area. This fact made the site's transfer to conservation ownership a winning proposition for both the Conservancy and the timber company that sold the land.
The Nature Conservancy is creating a demonstration project centered around conserving the biodiversity of this priority site within the setting of a successful commercial timber operation. The staff is working with several experienced partners on managing a buffer zone around the preserve that will sustain timber production while conserving wildlife and rare plant populations. The project will test and showcase alternative techniques to promote native species in the understory and limit herbicide and sediment runoff into the preserve. Ecological restoration activities for the core preserve include prescribed burning, non-native species removal, and salvage of pines in areas where growth has been marginal.
By instituting a strong monitoring program, the Conservancy will document the economics of the project and the ecological responses to the management regimes—building defensible, science-based data that demonstrate the feasibility of conservation-minded forestry.