Old Growth Protection

Old Growth Forest Protection

Ever wondered how old that tree really is? Did you believe it when you were told that alltimber in the south was cut down at the turn of the century leaving no trees standing today over 100 years old?

115cmdbhSugarMapleContrary to popular belief, our Southern Appalachian forests and mountains harbor old-growth trees and forest communities that are 300+ years old. The Southern Appalachian Forest Coalition (SAFC) has been inventorying these sometimes hard-to-locate giants, with a goal of permanent protection and conservation for these rare forests which provide habitat for a growing list of species and harbor important climatic, geological, and biological links to the past.

The campaign has identified over 114,000 acres of previously unidentified old growth forests and will provide crucial data during National Forest planning for the future protection and recovery of old growth in the region. Our work has also added to existing data on rare communities, critical watersheds, and the conservation potential of unroaded areas; as well as protected old growth forests from logging and other projects. Analysis from this campaign will be particularly important to protecting these areas when new management plans are developed for forests in the region by the US Forest Service.

SAFC’s Old Growth Forest Protection Campaign is working to increase public awareness regarding these rare forest communities which help provide clean water and air, good health, well-being, and quality-of-life benefits for people in Southern Appalachia .

Our old growth campaign field director, Josh Kelly, received a bachelor’s degree in biology from UNC-Asheville with a focus in botany in May, 2003. He has performed field work in the Blue Ridge and Nevada, and taken part in two plant collecting expeditions to the Pakaraima Mountains of Guyana with his mentor, Dr. H. David Clarke. Since 2003 Josh has worked to document and protect old-growth forests in the Southern Blue Ridge .

Helpful Links:

Old Growth Fact Sheet

Virginia Coalition Old Growth White Paper

Recent Press:

Struggle to Save Old-Growth Sites in North Carolina

Common Dreams, August 30, 2006

Threatened national forest tracts harbor rare old-growth forests

The Greener Home, March 2006

Finding the Forest Less Logged

Smoky Mountain News, May 17, 2006

Tree hunters scout Wildes Knob for hidden old-growth forest

Smoky Mountain News, June 7, 2006

Ancient Appalachia: The Southeast’s Old-Growth Forests

Blue Ridge Outdoors October 2006