What makes this preserve unique?
Caddo Black Bayou Preserve encompasses a mosaic of five natural communities including forested wetlands and a globally rare sandhill forest harboring at least 14 rare plant species.
Western xeric sandhills are considered one of the rarest ecological communities in the Upper West Gulf Coastal Plain Ecoregion. The Caddo Black Bayou xeric sand ridges are a droughty, infertile, upland site supporting grassy, prairie-like open areas of shortleaf pine (Pinus echinata) savanna that grades into sandy woodland dominated by scrub oaks such as bluejack oak (Quercus incana), margaretta oak (Q. stellata var. margaretta) and Arkansas oak (Q. arkansana). All of the rare plant species identified at the site occur in areas of deepest sand, including golden wave tickseed (Corepsis intermedia), heart-leaved skullcap (Scutellaria cardiophylla), and Louisiana squarehead (Tetragonotheca ludoviciana). The high quality wetland forest communities present include cypress-tupelo swamp/tupelo-blackgum swamp, bottomland hardwood forest, and forested seep/hardwood slope. Sizable, contiguous older-growth wetland forest mosaics such as this one are rare.
Due to the fact that Caddo Black Bayou is surrounded by private property, public access is limited to field trips guided by Conservancy staff.
What TNC Has Done/Is Doing
A 1994 natural area survey of Caddo and Bossier parishes identified Caddo Black Bayou as one of the most important conservation target in the region. TNC initiated acquisition efforts on the first of what would be four tracts to make up the preserve. Partners in the effort included the Dickson family of Shreveport, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, Devon Energy and Arkla Gas.
Much of the land surrounding the preserve has been converted to pine plantations, historic or current oil and gas sites, and rural homes. TNC is focusing its efforts on restoring and enhancing remnant western xeric sandhill plant communities by reintroducing fire as an ecological process.