Public and private commitment is key to connecting Red Hills conservation lands

Mar 12, 2024

Photos by Lauren Yoho with Wildpath

Maintaining ecosystems through land conservation is not only beneficial to wildlife but also to the health and sustainability of our water resources.

The immediacy of ecological connections determines the ability of animals to move freely along natural habitats to complete their life cycles. The Florida Wildlife Corridor, comprised of nearly 10 million acres of protected land, provides a vital highway across habitats that promotes the health and diversity of species.

Healthy water resources along this forested highway are vital to plant and animal populations, and land conservation provides the protections needed to safeguard these resources.

Another 8 million acres lie unprotected within the Corridor, making recent conservation successes in the Red Hills such as the 4,800-acre Cherokee conservation easement in Leon County and the 4,100-acre Norias conservation easement in Leon and Jefferson counties two significant contributions to the connectivity of essential natural spaces.

The shoreline of the Norias property along Lake Miccosukee is permanently protected through a conservation easement.

Permanent protection of these Florida Forever properties is another bold stroke upon the canvas of public and private lands under conservation in the Red Hills region.

Tall Timbers assisted with these recent land conservation achievements and continues work with landowners across the region to conserve land and fill in gaps along the Florida Wildlife Corridor.

The determined commitment of private landowners and the dedication of public funds toward private lands conservation and protection of our land and water resources are major components in effective ecosystem maintenance.

This mindfulness toward sustainability ensures productive ecological function within the Red Hills, enabled by the application of prescribed fire and thoughtful land management practices focused on healthy forests and wetlands and the promotion of plant and animal diversity.

Protected lands are quality natural connections along the Florida Wildlife Corridor, and within the Red Hills region, healthy watersheds between the Ochlockonee and Aucilla Rivers deliver far-reaching benefits of ecosystem services such as water filtration provided by healthy forests and water recharge from our wetlands to the Floridan aquifer.

The incredible advantage of safeguarding resources on these protected lands is not only a benefit to the wildlife and plant communities that inhabit these natural spaces, it is also an enhancement to the quality of life and sustainability for all those that treasure Florida and the cherished Red Hills.

Conservation lands across the Red Hills are a mix of donated conservation easements, publicly-funded easements and public owned land.

About the Author
Holly Guthrie
Holly Guthrie has a degree in Natural Resources & Conservation Management and works in the Land Conservancy at Tall Timbers where she applies her passion for conservation of our land and water resources. She is a birder, loves to bake, and dabbles in poetry. In her free time, she can be found tromping around in the woods communing with nature, looking for birds, learning about native plants and inspecting tiny animal homes.
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