A land acquisition by Sycamore Land Trust has filled in another block of land in the Beanblossom Bottoms Nature Preserve in northwestern Monroe County.
The 84 acres is in the northeastern corner of the nature preserve and fits neatly between the current preserve and the 78-acre Restle Unit of Muscatatuck National Wildlife Refuge, which is west of the newly acquired land.
The land is a mixture of agricultural farmland and woods, which is considered bottomland hardwood forest, according to Christian Freitag, executive director of Sycamore Land Trust. He said the fields will probably be farmed for the next couple of years while the land trust determines what to do with the land and raises funds to return it to a more natural habitat. Freitag said farming the land is better than allowing it to go fallow, which promotes the growth of invasive plant species.
The bottomland hardwood forest is one of the rarer types of forest, in large part because it’s woods in a wet area that is often drained and the trees cut down. Some of Indiana’s endangered species live in the bottomland hardwood forest areas of the nature preserve, including the Indiana bat, Kirtland’s snake, crawfish frog and rare orchids.
“Think swampy woods,” Frei-tag said of the bottomland hardwood forest.