Former agriculture or timberland property
This property is located in the Piedmont ecoregion of Georgia. Like much of this region of the State, the property was former agriculture or timberland and has been disturbed from these prior uses. It now consists primarily of mixed pine/hardwoods, a typical mid-successional vegetation type for previously disturbed areas. In the riparian areas near creeks, there are fairly mature bottomland hardwoods. Located in Fulton County, in a part of Atlanta known as Ben Hill, there is high-density residential development all around and many subdivisions. The Piedmont Driving Range Golf Course is adjacent and provides greenspace in an otherwise heavily developed area.
Most of the property can best be described as mature upland pine/mixed hardwood forest, a common transitional habitat in the Piedmont. Dominant species include loblolly pine and smaller hardwoods in the midstory, such as sweetgum, cherry, red maple, and dogwood. The climax community, if left to natural succession would be an upland oak-hickory-pine forest, a high-priority habitat in the Piedmont. Considered the climax forest of the Piedmont, this forest type formerly covered 50% to 75% of the region but most examples on fertile soils were eliminated by conversion to agricultural uses. The remaining examples are often found in rocky areas that were difficult to convert to agriculture. Typical species include white oak, black oak, southern red oak, pignut hickory, shagbark hickory, mockernut hickory, red maple, blackgum, shortleaf pine, and loblolly pine, with dogwood, rusty viburnum, hog plum, dwarf pawpaw, and various hawbushes in the understory. American chestnut was formerly a major component of the canopy. There are also some areas of more mature pine (loblolly)
The property has some oak-hickory forest in the southern portion of the Butner Road tract and northern portion of the Fairburn tract, which have steeper slopes and rockier soils. Hardwood species typical of these upland areas include Tulip Poplar, Shagbark Hickory, White Oak, Southern Red Oak, Northern Red Oak, and Dogwood. Upland oak-hickory forest is considered a high-priority habitat in the Georgia Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Strategy.
There are also low-lying wetland areas adjacent to the creeks and tributaries that contain river cane, ferns, and other mesic species in the understory. These areas contain fairly mature hardwoods and contain species like hornbeam, red maple, hickory, and white oak. Hardwood forests and stream corridors are important habitats for migratory birds and can be important stopover areas and migration corridors, especially in a predominantly urban setting where greenspace is sparse.
The property has hardwood floodplains associated with the intermittent streams that are also a high-priority habitat. These areas contain fairly mature hardwoods and contain species like hornbeam, red maple, hickory, and white oak. Hardwood forests and stream corridors are important habitats for migratory birds and can be important stopover areas and migration corridors, especially in a predominantly urban setting where greenspace is sparse.