Longleaf pine forests once stretched 90 million acres from Virginia to Texas. Harvested for lumber, turpentine, tar and pitch, this vast forest began to decline rapidly in the 19th century, and today a mere 3% of the original range remains. You can see what these ancient woodlands once looked like by visiting Calloway Forest, a longleaf pine forest in the Sandhills. Many wildlife species depend on the openness of longleaf pine forest to forage and raise young.
Due to fire suppression efforts in the late 20th century, much of the open longleaf pine forest became overgrown with hardwoods such as scrub oaks and has hampered the growth of natural plants and trees, as well as, caused a decline in bobwhite quail and red-cockaded woodpeckers.
Management efforts have reintroduced fire into this landscape through prescribed burns that reduce hardwoods and encouraged the growth of fire dependent species such as wiregrass and longleaf pine.
Calloway's plant communities include longleaf pine, wiregrass, Michaux's sumac, and rough-leaf loostrife. Red-cockaded woodpeckers, migratory songbirds, fox squirrels, and bobcats also call the preserve home.
History of the Preserve
Forests like Calloway help "bridge the gap" between existing protected areas by providing corridors for wildlife and restoring critical tracts degraded by fire suppression.
We protected Calloway Forest in collaboration with state and federal agencies. The NC Department of Transportation purchased the tract as mitigation for effects on red-cockaded woodpecker habitat, established an endowment for its stewardship, and transferred it to The Nature Conservancy.
We manage the forest in consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and it will eventually be included in the state's Game Lands program, managed by the NC Wildlife Resources Commission.
We are working with our partners to restore this tract using a controlled burn regime. For more information on how fire has historically helped the Sandhills landscape, see our Controlled Burning Brochure.