The Red Hills region of south Georgia and north Florida contains
one of the most biologically diverse ecosystems in North America,
with longleaf pine trees that are up to four hundred years old and
an understory of unparalleled plant life. At first glance, the
longleaf woodlands at plantations like Greenwood, outside
Thomasville, Georgia, seem undisturbed by market economics and
human activity, but Albert G. Way contends that this environment
was socially produced and that its story adds nuance to the broader
narrative of American conservation.
The Red Hills woodlands were thought of primarily as a healthful
refuge for northern industrialists in the early twentieth century.
When notable wildlife biologist Herbert Stoddard arrived in 1924,
he began to recognize the area's ecological value. Stoddard was
with the federal government, but he drew on local knowledge to
craft his land management practices, to the point where a
distinctly southern, agrarian form of ecological conservation
emerged. This set of practices was in many respects progressive,
particularly in its approach to fire management and species
diversity, and much of it remains in effect today.
Using Stoddard as a window into this unique conservation
landscape, Conserving Southern Longleaf positions the Red
Hills as a valuable center for research into and understanding of
wildlife biology, fire ecology, and the environmental appreciation
of a region once dubbed simply the "pine barrens."
Subjects: Environmental Science, Technology
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