The Conservation Fund has acquired approximately 23,000 acres of at-risk forestland in the Red Hills region of southwest Alabama.
The massive forest is known as the Alabama Red Hills Salamander Forest.
Monroe County – prime habitat
Located in Monroe County between Mobile and Montgomery, the property contains prime habitat for numerous wildlife species, including the threatened Red Hills salamander, the official amphibian for the state of Alabama.
One of America’s leading non-profit land protection organizations, The Conservation Fund’s acquisition is a critical first step towards the forest’s future protection. In the coming years, the national group will seek partnerships and private philanthropic donors who will help protect the forest in perpetuity.
The purchase of the land was made possible by a $17 million loan from the Richard King Mellon Foundation.
It was bought from Conservation Resources, a leading impact real estate asset manager, which has sustainably managed the forest since 2009. The acquisition was completed through The Conservation Fund’s Working Forest Fund® is an innovative forest conservation program dedicated to protecting natural ecosystems, mitigating climate change and strengthening rural economies.
“Since the launch of our Working Forest Fund, we have secured nearly 1 million acres of at-risk forestland across the United States and we have an ambitious goal to protect 5 million acres over the next 10 years, said The Conservation Fund’s President and CEO Larry Selzer.”Our most recent acquisition of the Alabama Red Hills Salamander Forest works towards that larger national goal while also securing a critical resource for local species and community members.”
Protecting this land will:
- Ensure habitat protection
- Increase public hunting and fishing access
- Provide climate change benefits
- And expand economic opportunities via forest-related jobs and a potential new community forest
Home of the Red Hills Salamander
What makes this land protection effort all the more special is its preservation of Red Hills salamander habitat.
The Alabama Red Hills Salamander Forest is the only place in the world where the rare Red Hills salamander can be found. The small, 25-mile-wide area of Alabama between the Conecuh and Alabama rivers is critical for the salamander’s survival.
“By securing the Alabama Red Hills Salamander Forest, we are one step closer to protecting this unique region for people and wildlife to enjoy in perpetuity,” concluded Andrew Schock, upper southeast regional director at The Conservation Fund.”