Outlook for Appalachian-Cumberland forests: a subregional report from the Southern Forest Futures Project
The U.S. Appalachian-Cumberland highland consists of about 62.3 million acres in portions of Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, and Virginia; and is divided into five sections - Blue Ridge Mountains; Interior Low Plateau; Northern Ridge and Valley; Southern Ridge and Valley; and Cumberland Plateau and Mountains. Appalachian-Cumberland forests provide a multitude of ecological services and societal benefits. This publication presents results from the Southern Forest Futures Project specific to the Appalachian- Cumberland subregion, along with associated challenges to forest management. Forecasted scenarios suggest that environmental conditions, nonnative insects and diseases, forest fragmentation, and increased societal pressure on forest land could create novel conditions that affect ecosystem structure and function. Continued changes in the societal forces that shape forest conditions, including urbanization, have the potential to affect many of the ecosystem services provided by Appalachian-Cumberland forests, including commercial and noncommercial forest products (such as timber harvesting and mushroom collecting), water quantity and quality, recreation, wildlife habitat, and biological complexity.