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The Legacy of a Red Hills Hunting Plantation

Tall Timbers Research Station & Land Conservancy

Robert L Crawford

Publication Year: 2012

The Red Hills region is an idyllic setting filled with longleaf pines that stretches from Tallahassee, Florida, to Thomasville, Georgia. At its heart lies Tall Timbers, a former hunting plantation.

In 1919, sportsman Henry L. Beadel purchased the Red Hills plantation to be used for quail hunting. As was the tradition, he conducted prescribed burnings after every hunting season in order to clear out the thick brush to make it more appealing to the nesting birds. After the U.S. Forest Service outlawed the practice in the 1920s, condemning it as harmful for the forest and its wildlife, the quail population diminished dramatically.

Astonished by this loss and encouraged by his naturalist friend Herbert L. Stoddard, Beadel set his sights on conserving the land in order to study the effects of prescribed burnings on wildlife. Upon his death in 1958, Beadel donated the entire Tall Timbers estate to be used as an ecological research station.

The Legacy of a Red Hills Hunting Plantation traces Beadel’s evolution from sportsman and naturalist to conservationist. Complemented by a wealth of previously unpublished, rare vintage photographs, it follows the transformation of the plantation into what its founders envisioned--a long-term plot study station, independent of government or academic funding and control.

Published by: University Press of Florida

Title page, Copyright Page

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pp. vii

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The Benefactors

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pp. ix-x

The publication of this history was made possible by a generous donation from Lee and Russell Chubb. Since the Cooperative Quail Investigation was undertaken by Herbert L. Stoddard in the south Georgia and north Florida Red Hills in 1924, there has been a Chubb family...

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pp. xi

This history of Tall Timbers has passed through several hands and has taken many years to complete. The original Tall Timbers History manuscript was written during 1973– 1984 by Tall Timbers Beadel Fellow Dr. William R. Brueckheimer as an outcome of his research on the...

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Preface and Acknowledgments

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pp. xii-xiv

Bruce Means has been most helpful with prompt and full replies to my inquiries. He supplied copious documentation, constructive comments on the manuscript, introductions to people, and an encouraging enthusiasm for the project. And special thanks go to Means, Betty Ashler...

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pp. xv

Tall Timbers Research Station was established in 1958 as a nonprofit biological research station. Land conservation was integrated into scientific research in 1990. Prior to that, it had a long history as a farming and hunting plantation. Part I of this history discusses Henry L. Beadel...


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1. The Red Hills: “From Cotton to Quail”

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pp. 3-16

The present-day Tall Timbers Research Station & Land Conservancy campus sits atop a high hill in Leon County, Florida, overlooking a large freshwater lake called Iamonia. It is a beautiful setting in a particularly scenic province called the Tallahassee Red Hills. Settlers from prehistoric American...

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2. The Beadels in the Red Hills

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pp. 17-43

Henry Ludlow Beadel was born on Staten Island, New York, on October 9, 1875, the son of Henry Beadel and Sarah Margaret Jones. The first Henry Beadel, Henry Ludlow’s grandfather, had moved in the 1850s from Baltimore to New York City, where he had accumulated substantial...

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3. Herbert L. Stoddard and the Komareks

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pp. 44-65

The Dixie Crusaders were at the forefront of an intense, warped effort by the U.S. Forest Service to abolish fire in the southern woodlands. In the 1920s the Crusaders drove throughout the South in truck caravans spreading their gospel.1 This fire prevention program “had a...

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4. WCTV, the Spark

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pp. 66-78

Herbert Stoddard’s real estate partnership, Tift and Stoddard, was dissolved in 1948, leaving Stoddard time to concentrate on his consulting forestry practice. He had many friends and contacts among the local landowners and did not lack for clients. Although his son, Sonny, joined him...

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5. The Founding

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pp. 79-90

Henry L. Beadel’s decisive commitment brought to culmination decades of discussions among the participants of the Komarek coffee klatches about a permanent research facility to fully explore the fire ecology and other aspects of natural history in the Red Hills. On February 7, 1958, Tall Timbers Research Station, Inc. was chartered as a nonprofit Florida corporation devoted...


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6. Classic and Early Long-Term Studies

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pp. 93-107

The early philosophy of the Tall Timbers founders was to conduct long-term “classic” research. As Ed Komarek later said, “The founders recognized the absolute necessity of developing public and scientific interest through long-term experiments, research, and demonstrations. This meant a research institution so well structured and of such permanence and continuity that...

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7. Spreading the Word

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pp. 108-121

Herbert L. Stoddard’s publication of The Bobwhite Quail in 1931 not only established him as a founder of the new applied science of wildlife management (see Chapter 3), it also began his active promotion of fire as a land management tool. From the time he arrived in the Red Hills in 1924...

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8. Invertebrate Studies

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pp. 122-134

In the early 1960s, when Tall Timbers was finding its way, Ed and Roy Komarek took an interest in a struggling young scientist. They gave him some financial support and publicity, thereby helping him become an internationally known marine biologist and the author of best-...

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9. Vertebrate Studies

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pp. 135-159

The founders of Tall Timbers, Beadel, Stoddard, and the Komareks, were all-around naturalists, but their focus was on vertebrates. Beadel and Stoddard were bird men, and the Komareks, while capable with birds, were primarily mammalogists. Their early-twentieth-century...

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10. The Red-Cockaded Woodpecker

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pp. 160-171

In the southeastern coastal plain of the United States, probably no animal is as indicative of healthy, mature pine forests as the Red-cockaded Woodpecker (Picoides borealis). The species requires older pines to exist because it prefers to excavate its nesting and roosting cavities in living pines infected with red-heart disease. Red heart is a fungus that turns the heartwood...

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11. Game Bird Research: The Modern Era

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pp. 172-188

The Northern bobwhite has been an enduring and prominent influence on the landscape and culture of the Red Hills region since the nineteenth century. Many plantations have managed bobwhite populations for over 100 years, and bobwhites are the reason Herbert Stoddard...

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12. The Wade Tract

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pp. 189-207

The Wade Tract Preserve is a 206-acre parcel of Arcadia Plantation in southwestern Thomas County, Georgia, that is in a near-pristine state, including ancient Longleaf Pines towering over a grassland never cut by plow. While it is not an especially big holding, even at that size it is one of the largest remaining tracts of old-growth Longleaf Pine forest in existence. Fewer...

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13. Plant Communities, Fire, and Land Management

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pp. 208-234

Plant ecologists study the connections between plants and their environments, elucidating natural relationships and dependencies. How and why fire affects the ecosystem has always been the core study problem at Tall Timbers; this was true even in the plantation days, when Stoddard guided Beadel’s...


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14. Tall Timbers Land Conservancy: From Association to Accreditation

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pp. 237-265

In the premier hunting plantation region of the Red Hills and greater Albany area, the Tall Timbers Land Conservancy has saved some of the South’s best remaining Longleaf Pine-Wiregrass forests; miles of river frontage along the Flint, Ochlockonee, and Aucilla Rivers; scenic canopy...

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15. The Present-Day Organization and Its Evolution

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pp. 266-275

The original Tall Timbers hierarchy as presented in Chapter 5 consisted of a seven-person Board of Members (later increased to eight) and an Executive Committee of Directors composed of the president, the vice-president, and the secretary-treasurer. Not until 1976 was the position...

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16. The Next Half-Century

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pp. 276-280

The future is bright for Tall Timbers. Opportunities are abundant. Its challenge will be to select appropriate opportunities and partnerships. Goals are clearly articulated and guided in the organization’s Strategic Plan and...


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17. Holdings and Intellectual Resources

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pp. 283-308

As considered here, intellectual resources include holdings, both real estate (land and buildings) and collections (libraries, scientific specimens), plus the heritage considerations of culture...

Appendix 1: Beadel Fellows

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pp. 309-310

Appendix 2: Alphabetical Listing of Board of Trustees, 1958–2008

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pp. 311

Appendix 3: Conferences and Publications

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pp. 312-318

Appendix 4: Tall Timbers Land Conservancy Appendixes

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pp. 319-327


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pp. 328-335

E-ISBN-13: 9780813042503
Print-ISBN-13: 9780813041483

Page Count: 360
Publication Year: 2012