A prescribed burn at the Sweetbay Bogs Preserve
Sweetbay Fire A prescribed burn at the Sweetbay Bogs Preserve © Becky Stowe/The Nature Conservancy

Places We Protect

Sweetbay Bogs Preserve

Mississippi

The Mississippi Chapter's first land purchase, this preserve includes rare plants and animals.

The 194-acre Sweetbay Bogs Preserve was the Mississippi Chapter's first land purchase in December 1989, and is named for the area's numerous sweetbay trees.

Bogs are rarely found this far south, and the site has long been considered one of the most critical natural communities in the state. At least six species of rare plants are found here:

  • Grass-of Parnassus (delicate, thin-stemmed, striking green-tinged white flower)
  • Bog spicebush
  • Large beakrush
  • Harper's yellow-eyed grass
  • Coast sedge
  • Southern butterwort
  • Flame flower
  • Pineland bog button

Showy orchids and carnivorous plants are present, including sundews, butterworts, bladderworts and pitcher plants.

A number of rare gopher tortoises reside here year-round, while a diversity of neotropical migratory birds make temporary stops.

All the flora and fauna are adapted to periodic fires, which keep bogs free of shrubs and allow new plant growth on which gopher tortoises and other species feed. To mimic a natural burning cycle, the Conservancy uses periodic prescribed fires during the growing season as part of the area's management plan.

Partners who have aided in the understanding of the area include local neighbors and fire department, Mississippi Power Company, Mississippi Heritage Program and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Due to the sensitivity of the Sweetbay Bogs habitat, field trips are available by appointment only.