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Lowcountry: Dr. Richard Porcher lecture
October 17, 2017 @ 6:30 pm - 7:30 pm
“Rediscovering the Lowcountry Landscape in the Footsteps of Our Forebears”
Man and nature shaped today’s Lowcountry landscape ever since Native Americans arrived eleven thousand years ago. Native Americans created calcium-rich shell middens, where a rare community, the maritime shell forest, developed. Beginning in the late 1700s, slaves banked then cleared 150,000 acres of tidal freshwater swamp where rice was planted. The abandoned fields today are mostly marsh communities, supporting a plethora of wildlife and wildflowers. Many acres of uplands that were cleared for agriculture today support diverse secondary forests, a community unknown before first contact, but nonetheless rich in wildlife. Coastal rivers and uplands were mined for phosphate, leaving the landscape not too unlike a bomb-scarred battlefield, but with a beauty of its own. Introduced invasive species, like Chinese tallow tree, have altered the native landscape. Prescribed fire today, replacing for the most part natural fires, has maintained the longleaf forests in their natural state, treasures for wildlife lovers. Man and nature, then, have worked together to produce today’s Lowcountry landscape, a rich and diverse landscape that offers much for the naturalist to behold and enjoy.