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for Maritime forests--North Carolina
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Due to development and the clearing of land that comes with more houses and more buildings, the maritime forests of North Carolina's coast are in danger of vanishing. Given the benefits they provide the coastal environment, many are working to prevent this loss.
North Carolina has a unique resource: oceanfront forests. Despite the inhospitable environment, maritime forests such as these provide barrier islands along the state's coast with special benefits that include anchoring the shifting sands, storing fresh water, and adding soil.
The North Carolina Nature Conservancy recently purchased 30 acres of critical maritime forest in Buxton Woods, located on Hatteras Island in Dare County. Buxton Woods is the state’s largest remaining maritime forest and harbors several rare plant species.
To protect the largest stand of maritime forest left on the Outer Banks and the Cape Hatteras Aquifer, which provides water to most of the residents in the area, the North Carolina Division of Coastal Management has proposed designating the Buxton Woods area as an Area of Environmental Concern. The designation would restrict development in Buxton Woods, and the proposal has created controversy.
A study for the North Carolina Coastal Resources Commission in1988 showed less than 12,000 acres of maritime forest remaining in North Carolina and found most of it in private ownership. The study predicted that at the current rate of development on barrier islands, most of the privately owned maritime forests would be destroyed or significantly altered in the next decade. Recommendations include developing local ordinances to protect the forests or acquire tracts of the forest.