Land Conservation & Management
The North Carolina Botanical Garden oversees areas such as the cultivated areas of the Totten Center grounds and the Coker Arboretum on the University campus, urban natural areas like Battle Park, Coker Pinetum, and the Piedmont Nature Trails, and conservation lands such as the Morgan Creek Preserve, Hunt Arboretum, Parker Preserve, and the Mason Farm Biological Reserve. All of these lands support teaching, research, and conservation of biological diversity, unique natural habitats, and historic sites of regional importance.
The North Carolina Botanical Garden lands are important to numerous academic units at the University, including Biology, Anthropology, Geology, Geography, English, Art, Institute for the Environment, and the Curriculum in Environment and Ecology. Since approximately 1980, the Mason Farm Biological Reserve alone has been used for research that has resulted in over 75 publications, 26 dissertations and theses, and more than 100 undergraduate projects. Several University Biology Department faculty maintain long-term research programs at Mason Farm, and it is the site of an international carbon storage study. The longest-running breeding bird survey in the southeastern United States has been conducted at Mason Farm since 1975, by Dr. Haven Wiley (UNC Department of Biology, retired). Permanent vegetation-sampling plots were established by Drs. Peter White and Robert Peet (UNC Biology Department) in 1991, which are periodically re-sampled to evaluate forest change over time.
Virtually all of the above-mentioned lands are used for natural history study by local conservation organizations such as the New Hope Audubon Society, Chapel Hill Bird Club, and Sierra Club. The Botanical Garden also offers regular programs on Mason Farm ecology and the public is invited to the our lands for respite and for the quiet enjoyment of nature.
Botanical Garden lands contain a wide range of habitats, from regionally significant woodland ecosystems to open meadows that have developed from the abandoned agricultural fields. The mix of woodlands and meadows creates habitat diversity that contributes to high levels of biological diversity: approximately 800 plant species, 216 bird species, 29 mammal species, 28 fish species, 28 reptile species, 23 amphibian species, and 115 butterfly species. (For these and additional data on Mason Farm, its history, and management, see the 1992 Mason Farm Biological Reserve Conservation Project by Peter White, Richard Busing, and Julia Larke.)
Click here to download a map of lands managed by the North Carolina Botanical Garden located near the Display Gardens.