The pieces of state-owned land that are proposed as natural area are intermixed with pieces of land that form The Nature Conservancy's Maxton Plains Preserve, all together creating a much larger, contiguous natural area that encompasses a large portion of the existing alvar. The natural community in the area has a very unusual biology, which is derived largely from the unusual geological condition and history of the site. It is a relatively undisturbed example of one of the rarest natural communities in Michigan, known as "alvar." Alvar occurs in areas where all of the soils have been scraped away by wind, water and ice, leaving the 400 million year old limestone bedrock exposed. These areas are typically treeless, the vegetation dominated by grasses, sedges and herbs that grow in cracks within the bedrock, or in a very thin soil layer over the bedrock. To some, it may look like an abandoned parking lot with weeds growing in the pavement cracks, but the life that flourishes in alvar areas is abundant and special. 2,017 acres in the northern part of Drummond Island.