Barber property to be heritage forest
SALISBURY — The LandTrust for Central North Carolina is pleased to announce its participation in the establishment of the “Joyce Ann Barber Heritage Forest and Wildlife Preserve” on the Historic Barber Farm in Western Rowan County. This 70-acre mature hardwood forest has been protected with a very restrictive conservation easement that will ensure that the forest remains in a natural state in perpetuity. The conservation easement also prohibits recreational hunting on the site.
Rebecca Barber Floyd and Joyce Ann Barber grew up on the historic Barber Farm in the Barber community, and they had previously donated a conservation easement ensuring that their property would not be developed or subdivided in any way. However, the easement did permit commercial forestry operations. Barber and Floyd decided they did not want the dense forest to ever be removed.
When Joyce Ann Barber fell ill in late 2012, Rebecca Barber Floyd decided to move forward with protecting the forest in honor of her sister. Floyd recounts, “Joyce Ann loved this farm so much, and she loved animals. She wanted to ensure that not only the farm, but also the forest, would continue to exist for future generations to get the same pleasure out of it that she had experienced.”
Jason Walser, executive director of The Land Trust for Central North Carolina, noted that this is only the second time in the organization’s history that a conservation easement donor has created a wildlife sanctuary that prohibits all hunting and forestry activities. “Becky Floyd has done something very significant here. She has both made a gift to wildlife and all of the citizens of the region, while also remembering her sister in a meaningful way.”
The forest is prominently visible from Highway 801, and it is anticipated that it will be used for educational and research purposes in the future. Although trees can never be harvested on the property, natural weather patterns and changes in climate will continue to make this Piedmont hardwood forest ecosystem very dynamic over time, providing a rare opportunity to study natural changes in an unmanaged forest comprised of native species. The only management activities permitted under the restrictions are actions targeted to controlling or eliminating invasive (non-native) species.
In future years, The Land Trust hopes to host educational hikes in the forest for students and others interested in forest ecology.
Charles Floyd, husband of Rebecca and brother-in-law of Joyce Ann, noted, “While the forest is really beautiful today, in 100 years, it will really be something unique in the state. I am really proud of Becky for her vision in making this commitment.”