Provide Clean Water
By slowing rainwater so that it can be absorbed into the ground, forests help filter pollutants and sediment from our waters while replensihing aquifers and keeping annual stream flows steady.
Communities like Harrison VA, Charlotte NC, and Atlanta GA rely on intact forests for their drinking water. In fact, 2200 communities, supplying more than 10 million people, receive their drinking water from Forest Service land.
Home to Unique Plants and Animals
Few people relaize, the Southern Appalachians are one of the most species rich areas outside of the tropics -meaning when added together, we have more types of mamals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, snails, butterflies and native vascular plants.
The Southern Appalachian forests host between 211-242 species that are found nowhere else on earth.
Source of Economic Growth
Recreation-based tourism in the region has an annual employment of over 100,000 people.
In 2000, 137 million people participated in what is known as human-powered outdoor recreational activities nationwide, bringing in $18 billion in revenues.
Hunting in the Southern Appalachinas brought in $296 million in retail sales in 1996.
The Ocoee River alone brings in more than $3 million a year in commericial and private user fees, including over $300,00 in tax revenues.
The movie industry spent $93 million in North Carolina in1995 movies.
Provide Clean Air
Each acre of forest sequesters 31.45 tons of carbon per year (at an estimated value of $65 per ton) while also filtering out harmful pollutants and providing oxygen. (from The Eastern Forest Partnership)
Healthy forests play an important role in sequestering atmospheric carbon, which could aid in mitigating the negative effects of climate change.
Provide Recreational Opportunities
About 40% of America’s population lives within a days drive of the Southern Appalachian National Forests
Southern National Forests are the second most heavily used in the nation, getting 1.9 visits per acre.
A Link to Our Past and Reassuring Future
The Southern Appalachian Forests are rich in cultural wealth, having a long human history, with many locales acquiring culutral significance and meaning.
They are a source for both self discovery, public education and nd a place of spiritual renewal
They foster the idea in the back of our mind that we can have the integrity to leave a place alone.