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Meeman-Shelby Forest State Park
Meeman-Shelby Forest Wildlife Management Area
Meeman-Shelby Forest State Natural Area

    TWRA symbol

MAVShelby Co.Meeman-Shelby Forest SNAMeeman-Shelby Forest SP

Note: The Meeman-Shelby Forest State Park resides in two physiographic Provinces and is part of the IBA site, Mississippi Alluvial Valley in Tennessee.

Location:  Northwest of Memphis, bordered on the north by Tipton County, on the south by the city of Memphis, and on the west by the Mississippi River and Crittenden County, Arkansas, in Shelby County, Tennessee.
Physiographic Provinces:  Bottomlands: PIF 05 (Mississippi Alluvial Valley); BCR 26 (Mississippi Alluvial Valley). Chickasaw Bluff: PIF 04 (East Gulf Coastal Plain); BCR 27 (Southeastern Coastal Plain)
Tennessee IBA Site Map - Meeman-Shelby.bmp (80006 bytes)
Geographical Coordinates: 
    Meeman-Shelby Forest State Park--Lat. 352001N  Long. 0900406W
Elevation Range: 
    223' Meeman-Shelby Forest State Park
Size:  13,467 acres
USGS 7.5' quad:  Locke

The park's initial development was begun in 1933 and through a series of acquisitions and reforestation programs, the park is what it is today. Bordering on the Mississippi River, two-thirds of the park is bottomland hardwood forest of large oak, cypress and tupelo. The park also contains two lakes and many miles of hiking trails. Within the state park are Meeman-Shelby Forest State Natural Area (11,000 acres) and Meeman-Shelby Forest State Wildlife Management area. "The bottomlands undulate from cypress dominated sloughs and bayous to bottomland hardwood with a few feet of topographic relief. Cypress sloughs are dominated by Bald Cypress and Southern Hackberry with an understory of Black Willow, Green Ash, and Water Elm. Bottomland hardwoods are dominated by Cottonwoods, Sycamore and Southern Hackberry. East of the vast bottomlands, the Third Chickasaw Bluff rises abruptly from the floodplain. The bluff vegetation is variable according to slope aspect but is characterized by Sweet Gum, Tulip Poplar, White and red oaks, and beech with a distinctive understory of Red Buckeye." The site is especially significant because of the loss of vast bottomland habitat in west Tennessee. There are eleven state champion trees.

IBA Criteria:  3, 4f

Ornithological Importance:  Contains one of the largest contiguous tracts of mature bottomland hardwood forest in Tennessee and a number of list species. Lark Sparrow, a Tennessee Threatened species, was observed on September 21, 2002. Tennessee in Need of Management species include: Anhinga--Nest, May 27, 1999 (1 pair + nest) ; Cerulean Warbler--During the Cerulean Warbler Atlas Project in 2000, 53 males were documented in the state park; Mississippi Kite--April 22, 2003 (5) and May 5, 2005 (8); and Swainson's Warbler-- April 28, 2003 (2).   
    Note 1. The Meeman-Shelby Forest State Natural Area "is one of the largest contiguous tracts of mature bottomland hardwood forest and Chickasaw Bluff forest left in Tennessee. The natural area includes approximately 7,000 acres of Mississippi Alluvial Plain and approximately 4,000 acres of Chickasaw Bluff." Number of individuals present at one time, both neotropical and year-round species can be substantial. Examples are: June 12, 2002--Twelve species of warblers including 3 Cerulean Warblers and 1 Swainson's Warbler. September 19, 2002--Ruby-throated Hummingbird (30), Red-headed Woodpecker (12), Red-bellied Woodpecker (18), Acadian Flycatcher (9), White-breasted Nuthatch (11), White-eyed Vireo (22), Red-eyed Vireo (14), 11 species of warblers including Blue-winged Warbler (11), Golden-winged Warbler (2), Tennessee Warbler (10), Northern Parula (20), Chestnut-sided Warbler (11), Magnolia Warbler (16), and American Redstart (7), and Summer Tanager 12. April 16, 2003--Blue-gray Gnatcatcher (24), White-eyed Vireo (10), and 11 species of warblers including Cerulean Warbler (2) and Kentucky Warbler (9). September 6, 2003--Eastern Wood-Pewee (18), Acadian Flycatcher (12), White-eyed Vireo (20), 15 species of warblers including Blue-winged Warbler (2), Golden-winged Warbler (1), Brewster's Warbler (1), Tennessee Warbler (12), Northern Parula (45), Chestnut-sided Warbler (12), Magnolia Warbler (12), Black-and-white Warbler (8), and American Redstart (6), and Summer Tanager (12). May 5, 2005--White-eyed Vireo (12), Red-eyed Vireo (30), Swainson's Thrush (60), Wood Thrush (10), 16 species of warblers including Tennessee Warbler (80), Summer Tanager (10), Scarlet Tanager (15), Rose-breasted Grosbeak (30), and Baltimore Oriole (20).
        Point Counts: A total of 264 counts were made in the period 1993-1995, 1997-1998, for a total of 2,771 birds of 71 species. The table below summaries the top 20 species on point counts at Meeman-Shelby Forest State Park by relative abundance of individuals in the period stated. Of the top 20 species, 12 species (60%) were neotropical.

Top 20 Species On Counts at Meeman-Shelby Forest SP
By Relative Abundance of Individuals 1993-1995, 1997-1998


Carolina Wren360
Acadian Flycatcher*295
Tufted Titmouse278
Northern Cardinal243
Red-bellied Woodpecker229
Indigo Bunting*193
Wood Thrush*176
Eastern Wood-Pewee*173
Yellow-billed Cuckoo*161
Northern Parula*151
White-eyed Vireo*147
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher*130
Carolina Chickadee109
Summer Tanager*89
Brown-headed Cowbird87
Kentucky Warbler*81
Red-eyed Vireo*80
American Redstart*71
Downy Woodpecker69
Blue Jay60
* = neotropical 


Site Criteria



Avg. No Season

Max. No. Season

Years of Data



Habitat: Bottomland (See Note 1 above.)






4fLandbirds: Migration numbers and breeding species (See Note 1 above.)B, SM, FM    
Season1   B = Breeding, W = Wintering, SM = Spring Migration, FM = Fall Migration
Source 2  1-Atlas Breeding Birds of Tennessee 2-Breeding Bird Surveys 3-Christmas Bird Counts
4-Point Counts 5-Refuge Counts 6-Personal observations 7-Other (specify)

Ownership:  Department of Environment & Conservation. Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (leased).
    Contact:  Meeman-Shelby Forest State Park, 910 Riddick Road, Millington, TN 38053, 901-876-5201. Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, Shelby Forest Wildlife Management Area, 200 Lowell Thomas Drive, Jackson, TN 38301, 731-423-5725, 800-372-3928 (toll free in Tennessee). Division of Natural Heritage, Jackson Environmental Assistance Center, 362 Carriage House Drive, Jackson, TN 38305-2222, 731-512-1369. Division of Natural Heritage, 14th Floor L&C Tower, 401 Church St., Nashville, TN 37243-0447, 615-532-0431.

Conservation Concerns: 

Management Program:  None

Submitted by:  Martha Waldron, martha.waldron@stlouis.cdom.org

Additional Contributors:  

Approved under the umbrella IBA site Mississippi Alluvial Valley:  February 2006--Yes 7  No 0

This page was last updated on 02/19/06.