Savannah River Ecology Laboratory
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Boiling Springs Natural Area


The Boiling Springs Natural Area is a small stand (approximately 8.46 acres; 3.42 ha) found within the poorly drained, alluvial floodplain of Lower Three Runs Creek. The Area is comprised of a once disturbed (cut-over), upland forest component and an undisturbed, mixed bottomland component that contains a remnant old-growth element with large, mature loblolly pines (Pinus taeda), some more than 200 years old. This Set-Aside represents a small remnant of climax forest of the beech-magnolia-pine association where there is believed to have been no disturbance to the old-growth element for over 200 years. This Area was one of the original ecological study areas for which the AEC contracted with the University of South Carolina to conduct biological inventories in the early 1950s. At present, Boiling Springs is the only known intact, old-growth community that exists on the SRS. Ironically, this remnant stand is both the oldest plant community recorded for the SRS and the smallest in size of all the Set-Aside Areas.

The Boiling Springs Natural Area was registered in 1957 with the Society of American Foresters (SAF) national system of Natural Areas. It is one of two Natural Areas on the SRS that were added to the Set-Aside program in 1989, the other being the Scrub Oak Natural Area (Area #29). The Boiling Springs Set-Aside contains the least disturbed forest stand on the SRS; this forest has been preserved since 1957 through the efforts of the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission, U.S. Forest Service, and The Nature Conservancy.

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