Pontotoc Ridge Preserve
This account from the Nature Conservancy Web Site.
Pontotoc Ridge Preserve is
the Oklahoma Chapter's premier crosstimbers property. This 2,900-acre
landscape rests in south-central Oklahoma and holds bottomland forests,
oak savannas (essential for migratory birds like painted buntings),
mixed-grass and tallgrass prairies, springs and cool running streams.
This untilled landscape has proven to be a regional hot spot of
butterfly diversity, boasting over 90 species documented at the preserve
to date. Whether it's cactus, bluestem or mountain boomers, Pontotoc
Ridge Preserve is an excellent example of Oklahoma's ruggedly beautiful
lands. The original property that formed the preserve was a gift from
the Buddy Smith family.
Prescribed burn at Pontotoc Ridge
Biodiversity Threats in
the area include the spread of eastern redcedars. Much of the
surrounding area is succumbing to this invasive species. Completing the
acquisition of several critical parcels of land inside the preserve
boundary will help secure the natural integrity of this immensely
What the Conservancy is
doing now currently centers around prescribed burning. Fire was a
naturally occurring event in this ecosystem, yet landowners and
communities have shied away from conducting prescribed burns due to the
lack of training and equipment and burdensome prescribed burning laws in
our state. In the spring of 2003, the Conservancy conducted the
first-ever prescribed burn workshop at the preserve for area landowners
with help from fire ecology experts from Oklahoma State University.
Bringing people and equipment together to put this powerful land
management tool back to use will play a key role in managing this