Important Bird Areas

Carolina Sandhills National Wildlife Refuge

South Carolina

The Carolina Sandhills National Wildlife Refuge contains 46,000 acres of land and water in northeastern South Carolina. The property is situated along the fall line separating the piedmont from the upper coastal plain. Most of the refuge is covered by longleaf pine forest interspersed with scrub-oak. Soils are composed primarily of rolling beds of deep sand. Habitat is enhanced by 1,200 acres of open fields and forest clearings and 30 man-made lakes and ponds. Numerous small creeks and tributaries transect the refuge at either Black Creek on the east side or Lynches River on the west side. Vegetation along these streams is composed of bottomland hardwood species and dense stands of evergreen shrubs.

Ornithological Summary

The primary species featured at the Carolina Sandhills NWR is the endangered Red-cockaded Woodpecker. The large stands of mature longleaf pine timber are home to 500 to 700 Red-cockaded Woodpeckers in scattered breeding colonies. Bachman's sparrow is also present in good numbers, but there are currently no hard figures on the size of this population. Carolina Sandhills is an important area for the research conducted on this endangered woodpecker.

Conservation Issues

The greatest threat to wildlife at the Carolina Sandhills Refuge is natural predation. Another natural process, plant disease, is another major concern. Soil erosion and succession also takes its toll on the habitats found on the refuge. A potential problem in the surrounding area is the potential for habitat to be converted to agriculture thereby placing more wildlife in the limited area of the refuge.

Ownership

Carolina Sandhills National Wildlife Refuge is owned by the U.S. Department of Interior, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Habitat

The Carolina Sandhills National WIldlife Refuge is dominated by longleaf pine stands growing on very sandy soil. There are intermittent oak- scrub areas as well as mixed forest in the areas with greater moisture holding ability.

Land Use

Land use on the refuge is primarily conservation for the wildlife with silviculture used to manage the large tracts of longleaf pine. Like all National Wildlife Refuges, there is a small amount of nature related tourism. There is also limited fishing and hunting on controlled portions of the property.