Policy Implications of Georgia’s Coastal Marsh Hammock Biological Surveys
Jones, Laura P.
Calvi, Maria S.
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Between October 2001 and September 2002, the Southern Environmental Law Center, in conjunction with the Georgia Conservancy and the Altamaha Riverkeeper, conducted a series of biological inventories of marshland hammocks in the coastal region of Georgia. The surveys represent the first comprehensive investigation of these unique and threatened coastal resources. Marsh hammocks support maritime forests, a disappearing natural community. Many hammocks provide roosting and nesting areas for wading birds (including the endangered wood stork), as well as habitat for diamondback terrapin and other wildlife. Although hammocks are facing increasing development pressure, a lack of information about these resources is hampering conservation efforts of state agencies and private conservation organizations. Preliminary data analyses have revealed that, because of their varying locations, sizes, and origins, marsh hammocks exhibit widely diverse characteristics. Only through additional investigation can we gain a sound understanding of marsh hammocks and the dynamic role they play in our marshland ecosystem.