Strange shapes carved in Big Lake woods

Published: Jan. 7, 2013 at 5:31 PM CST
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MANILA, AR (KAIT) - Several acres of cleared land have appeared in north-central Mississippi County.

According to the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, the odd shapes are part of a habitat restoration project.

This forest revitalization project began around 2005 with the help of local lumber companies.

Throughout the years, letters of the alphabet slowly appeared on satellite imagery.

A lowercase "N", "T", and a backwards "S" are now all in plain sight.

Habitat Biologist Lou Hausman says the process may seem destructive, but it actually provides something that's been missing from many W-M-A's across Region 8.

"In wildlife management, you know, disturbance is a good thing. When you put sunlight to the forest floor, that's one of the basic components of habitat management. It stimulates growth in the understorage and stimulates growth on the ground."

About 100 acres were cut down by the A-G-F-C, but the mission is positive: to revive and rejuvenate wildlife.

Those different shapes we see were cut to determine which had the best "edge effect."

"The squares and the rectangles, those are what we call regeneration cuts. With that, we don't really have the need to go back and maintain those. We're just going to let them grow back up."

Hausman has answered plenty of questions regarding the unusual designs.

He says this practice is not out of the ordinary, with projects in the Saint Francis Sunken Lands and near the Black River.

It's all part of the conservation effort across the state.

"Well, there's three things you gotta have for wildlife--food, water, cover. It provides a unique little niche of food for certain wildlife. It establishes native plants and grasses."

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