Thanks to an $80,000 grant to The Nature Conservancy by Weyerhaeuser Company, the ecologically diverse plant life on the deep ravines and bluff ridges of the 350-acre Old Cove area will be studied, documented and preserved.
The funding for the evaluation of Old Cove is part of Weyerhaeuser’s ongoing collaboration with the Conservancy to study conservation and sustainable management of biological diversity in managed forests.
The Old Cove area in Webster County includes nearby Magnolia Cove and the southern slope of Shelton Mountain. This area is part of a 12,000-acre forested landscape that includes the headwaters for the Big Black River and Yalobusha/Yazoo Rivers. Implementing conservation actions within this large watershed will result in more inclusive protection of biodiversity in freshwater and terrestrial systems not only at this site but on the larger landscape as well.
The Old Cove area was originally identified by Weyerhaeuser foresters as a protected “Special Places Area” in compliance with the Sustainable Forestry Initiative standard. A Special Places management plan was developed and some research conducted by the Conservancy and Mississippi State University.
Several rare species have been documented in the area, including maple leaf viburnum, star vine and yellow lady’s slippers. Among the unusual forest communities present are Southern Appalachian hardwood forest species including big leaf magnolia, American beech and tulip poplar. The Shelton Mountain area contains xeric (dry) species including black jack oak and huckleberry.
“We could not be more pleased about the continuing partnership with Mississippi’s chapter of The Nature Conservancy,” said Ken Durand, manager for Weyerhaeuser’s Mississippi-Alabama timberlands region. “We knew this area was special and should be preserved. Now with the grants, The Nature Conservancy has the resources to help us fully assess and save all that’s special about Old Cove.”