The largest remaining forest of bald cypress and tupelo gum trees in the world has been named a Ramsar Wetland of International Importance.
Francis Beidler Forest in south-central South Carolina, a 15,000-acre sanctuary owned primarily by the National Audubon Society, received the designation May 30 at the annual meeting of the U.S. National Ramsar Committee in Washington, D.C. It becomes the 23rd Ramsar wetland in the U.S. and the first Audubon property so honored. (Its blog is here.)
Ramsar is the Iranian city where the Convention on Wetlands was adopted in 1971. Ramsar wetlands include the Everglades, Chesapeake Bay, Horicon Marsh in Wisconsin, Delaware Bay, and Bolinas Lagoon in California.
Beidler Forest was named an Important Bird Area in 2001. Among the 140-plus bird species found in the forest are Watch List species such as Red-headed Woodpecker, Brown-headed Nuthatch, Prothonotary Warbler (above), and Swainson's Warbler.
Audubon President John Flicker said Beidler Forest's designation "will help us to defend it from the many ongoing threats to its health, such as sprawl, poorly controlled mining and timber operations, and industrial agriculture. The Ramsar designation will show that the Beidler Forest is a place that deserves attention and protection." — M.M.