On a recent trip to an East Texas (Huntsville area) conservation easement, I was struck by a very stark division between the land we protect and an adjacent property. As the neighbor’s property was in the middle of being cleared, opening the potential for development, I felt like I was watching our easement protections work in real-time. We’re thankful that our trees get to grow old, and we know this woodland will always remain a wild and bountiful habitat for all of its existing and future flora and fauna.
On the left you will see the TLC protected woodland. On the right you will see the neighboring property being cleared.
Typically, a landscape or property is most similar to its surroundings. This is Waldo Tobler’s First Law of Geography, “everything is related to everything else, but near things are more related than distant things”. Odds are that your neighbor’s land looks just like your land.
As our state continues to be developed, our protected lands will become more and more unlike their surroundings until they’re all that’s left of our wild and scenic resources. We strive to achieve landscape scale conservation to prevent the negative impacts of development around our state and our small pockets of protection are a great start.
Every time I visit this small protected patch I’m greeted with little treasures. Last year I discovered my first White Fringe tree, and this year I was treated to my first Parsley Hawthorn tree Crataegus marshallii, and other spring-time blooms! We even have a family of Black Vultures returning to a shed to lay their eggs!