Elklick Woodlands Natural Area Preserve

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Elklick Woodlands Natural Area Preserve is a Natural Area Preserve located in Fairfax County, Virginia. Owned by the Fairfax County Park Authority, it is protected with a local conservation easement, and preserves a rare habitat known as a northern hardpan basic oak-hickory forest. This kind of forest occurs on diabase soil with an underlay of dense plastic clay; such terrain is commonly called "shrink-swell soil". Trees which grow in such an environemtn are stunted, but a wide variety of grasses and herbs may be found in the understory. Such forests were once common around northern Virginia, but with the increasing suburbanization of the area are being lost.