White Pines, Hemlocks, and Sunlight

The Blue Valley Experimental Forest (Blue Valley) lies in southwest North Carolina in the Nantahala National Forest. Located in Macon County, near the point where North Carolina meets Georgia and South Carolina, the experimental forest was established in 1964. At 1,300 acres, it is the smallest of the three experimental forests in North Carolina and the second smallest…  More 

Life after Hemlock: Restoring Riparian Forests in the Southern Appalachians

In the last decade, the hemlock woolly adelgid, a tiny sap-sucking insect native to Japan, has swept through southern Appalachian forests, leaving dead hemlocks in its wake. Hemlock branches no longer shade streams or tower over shrubs, and their loss has affected streamside, or riparian, forests. “Without hemlock, more sunlight reaches the forest floor,” says U.S.…  More 

Making a Start on Restoring Hemlocks to the Southern Appalachians

This winter, in collaboration with the North Carolina State University (NCSU) Camcore program, the U.S. Forest Service Southern Research Station (SRS) established plots for the first phase of research to support restoring hemlocks to the forest stands in the southern Appalachians they’ve disappeared from. Andy Tait, NCSU-Camcore research assistant based at SRS, coordinated the planting…  More 

One-Two Punch Slows Down the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid

Can combining chemical and biological treatments save eastern hemlocks from the hemlock woolly adelgid? Recently published research by U.S. Forest Service scientists and collaborators offers hope that integrated management can provide sustained protection for an iconic tree. In an article published in the journal Forest Ecology and Management, Forest Service and university researchers provide findings…  More 

Researchers Track “Gray Ghosts” Across the Southern Appalachians

People living in the Appalachian Mountains of the eastern United States have long enjoyed a rich culture of storytelling. Often rooted in a deep connection to the natural world, stories from Appalachian folklore serve to entertain as well as to educate; sometimes, important life lessons emerge, especially from tales of demise. A present-day ghost story…  More 

Loss of Eastern Hemlock Will Affect Forest Water Use

Eastern hemlock grows in streamside areas throughout the southern Appalachian Mountains, where it is a keystone species. Because of its dense evergreen foliage, constant year-round transpiration (loss of water from needles) rate,  and dominance in riparian and cove habitats,  eastern hemlock plays an important role in the area’s water cycle, and regulates stream flow year…  More