Fernbank Forest

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Fernbank Forest
Fernbank Forest.jpg
Tour at Fernbank Forest
Location DeKalb, Atlanta Georgia, USA
Coordinates 33°46′34″N 84°19′23″W / 33.77622°N 84.32307°W / 33.77622; -84.32307
Area 65 acres (26 ha)
Established December 0, 1937;
77 years ago
Governing body Fernbank Museum of Natural History
Website www.fernbankmuseum.org
Ecosystem(s) Old-Growth Urban Forest

Fernbank Forest is a 65-acre (25 hectares) mature mixed forest that is part of Fernbank Museum of Natural History in Atlanta, Georgia. It has one of the few remnants of original forest vegetation in the Georgia Piedmont; as such, it has been extensively studied by scientists. Large specimens of white oak and tulip poplar, which grow up to 151 feet (46 meters) tall, dominate the tree canopy. There also are a few equally tall loblolly pine. Other canopy species include American beech, black oak, northern red oak, southern red oak, pignut hickory, bitternut hickory, mockernut hickory, winged elm and red maple. Eastern flowering dogwood, sourwood, umbrella magnolia and eastern redbud are prominent among the smaller trees. The forest floor is covered by many shrub, wildflower, and fern species.

Common animals include raccoon, opossum, gray squirrel, chipmunk, American crow, pileated woodpecker, box turtle and several snake species, including the venomous copperhead.

The soils are mostly well-drained, with medium brown or dark reddish brown sandy loam topsoils. The subsoils are clay loam or clay; they are medium red or dark red. The darker soils, which support higher plant diversity, have developed on mafic rock; the medium-toned soils are on felsic rock.


Bloodroot, Sanguinaria canadensis

Fernbank Forest was purchased from Col. Z. D. Harrison in 1939 by a group of citizens who organized Fernbank, Inc for the conservation and preservation of this old-growth forest to inspire and teach about nature. In 1964 the Fernbank Trustees developed a 48-year lease which was accepted by the DeKalb County Board of Education, agreeing to manage and maintain the forest in exchange for offering free access to the public. The lease was renewable in eight-year intervals for a maximum of 48 years.

In 2012, the management of Fernbank Forest returned to its owner, Fernbank, Inc., which is also known as the not-for-profit Fernbank Museum of Natural History.

Fernbank Museum of Natural History are developing of a Forest Stewardship and Master Plan for all 121 acres of the Museum's property, including Fernbank Forest. However, no public access to the forest has occurred since early 2012.

See also[edit]


Coordinates: 33°46′34″N 84°19′23″W / 33.77622°N 84.32307°W / 33.77622; -84.32307