The State Botanical Garden (SBG) is composed of a mosaic of piedmont successional plant communities that offer diverse habitats for resident, breeding and migratory birds. The 300-acre site contains a primary forest of mesic oak-hickory composed of dry ridgetops, moister slopes and ravines, flats, and heath bluffs. An important part of SBG is riparian and wetlands, including a long stream edge zone and colluvial flat along the Middle Oconee River and adjoining creek, floodplain hardwood forest, a small bog, and several beaver ponds. Adding further diversity are successional forests and pines, and human-made openings and gardens. A power right-of-way offers an important interface between forest, field and garden plant communities. The State Botanical Garden of Georgia is a resource to the citizens of Georgia and admission is free.

Whitehall Forest is a 740 acre area located adjacent to the Garden along the Middle Oconee River. It has similar, but less developed and less cultured landscapes which provide excellent habitat for birds. Whitehall Forest is managed by the Daniel B. Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources at the University of Georgia. This forest serves as a field laboratory for instruction and research, with experimental fish ponds, a wildlife and fisheries lab, a tree nursery, and a wood utilization and plant sciences research lab. Due to the many experimental plots, public access to Whitehall Forest is restricted.

Ornithological Summary

Examples: Cerulean Warblers, Red-headed Woodpecker

The State Botanical Garden (SBG) and Whitehall Forest (WF) are important to many species of high conservation priority in Georgia. The habitat diversity at these sites makes them especially important for birds in the increasingly-developed Georgia piedmont. Significant numbers of land birds, particularly woodpeckers and neotropical migrants such as warblers, vireos, and thrushes, use this area for breeding, winter habitat, and spring and fall migration corridors. Both sites are important as long-term monitoring sites for scientists. Although primarily established for botanical and forest studies and preservation, their status as state-owned properties makes them an oasis for birds within the rapidly developing Athens community.

Sighting Source Key: 1=published reports,; 2=surveys (CBC; BBS; etc.); 3=personal observations; 4=other sources (specify)

Conservation Issues

Invasive species - non-native plants (privit); Natural Events - cowbird parasitism, drought, erosion, fire, flood, natural pests; Pollution - radioactive contamination (Efforts are underway to clean up a toxic waste site adjacent to the SBG.)

Ownership

Both the State Botanical Garden of Georgia and Whitehall Forest are owned by the State of Georgia. Whitehall Forest is managed through the Daniel B. Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources of the University of Georgia.

Habitat

SBG habitat types: Forested Upland - mixed deciduous forest is the primary habitat type. Secondary Habitats include River/stream; Riparian/Floodplain Forest; Fields; Pond/Lake; Utility right-of-way powercut.

WF habitat types: Forested Upland - mixed deciduous forest is the primary habitat type. Secondary Habitats include River/stream; Riparian/Floodplain Forest; Fields; Pine plantation, railroad right-of-way clearings.

Land Use

Nature conservation and Research--Conservation of natural area, ecological research, other research, environmental education

Tourism/recreation--birdwatching, hiking/jogging, indoor and outdoor displays of diverse botanic samples

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