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<h1 style="margin-top: 0px;" class="title2">Nature Conservancy Buys Key Red Hills
Priority Forest Site, Protects Rare Species</h1><h2 style="font-size: 14px;" class="text2">Habitat for globally rare and declining species eventually will be transferred to the state.</h2><p class="text2">BIRMINGHAM, AL ? April 16, 2010 ? TheNature Conservancy bought 1,786 acres of high-quality habitat in thesteep, rolling hills of the Red Hills Conservation Area in southwestAlabama today. The site is a keystone in the big-picture effort by TheNature Conservancy, the state of Alabama and the U.S. Fish and WildlifeService to build a landscape-scale conservation area in the Red Hillsand ensure the recovery and protection of an endangered species.

?We are so happy today to secure this property ? the heart of a wholelandscape is protected,? said Steve Northcutt, director of protectionfor The Nature Conservancy in Alabama. ?Without it, any otherconservation purchases in the area would inevitably be fragmented, andour efforts to restore natural processes and protect the long-termviability of the landscape would be severely compromised.?

The area is characterized by steep bluffs and ravines covered with amatrix of dry to broadleaf forest, including unusual magnolia, high oakand hickory diversity. The site is a major global stronghold for theRed Hills salamander: Not only the species, but the entire genus, isendemic to a few counties in south Alabama. Several other species foundonly in Alabama are found here.

?If sufficient habitat can be protected for the Red Hills salamanderacross its limited range to ensure its long-term future, it may bepossible to take it off the endangered species list,? said AlabamaState Director Chris Oberholster. ?Since it is an Alabama endemicspecies, its fate lies in our hands alone.?

<span style="font-weight: bold;">The land will eventually be transferred for recreational use to thestate with the help of the Forever Wild Land Trust, the AlabamaDepartment of Conservation and Natural Resources and the U.S. Fish andWildlife Service. Visit nature.org/Alabama.</p><p class="text2">
</p><p class="text2">Here is a map out of the Monroeville Newspaper...</p><p class="text2">

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