From CPP: How can we save NC forests?

Road in the Roan Highlands of Mitchell County
A road climbs into the Roan Highlands of Mitchell County in early April. Photo by Jack Igelman, courtesy of Carolina Public Press

Originally published by Carolina Public Press. Carolina Public Press is an independent, in-depth and investigative nonprofit news service for North Carolina.

On June 7, Carolina Public Press held a free and open virtual event with a panel of experts to discuss threats to the future of public forests in the state. A recording of the event is available below.

Climate change is causing erratic weather events and altering ecosystems in Western North Carolina’s forests. As the new Nantahala and Pisgah National Forest land management plan for WNC is put into motion, pressures from climate change on public and private lands in the region create uncertainties for these areas and the businesses, communities and lifestyles that use and depend on them. Those seeking to protect the area’s natural health must navigate a challenging path through a shifting landscape.

A recent 5-part in-depth series by Carolina Public Press, “Fraught Forests,” explored what these changes mean and the challenges they pose for those who manage the these natural resources.

Panelists share experiences, solutions

The panel featured Carolina Public Press Managing Editor Frank Taylor; reporter Jack Igelman; Marquette Crockett, Roan stewardship director with the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy; David Easterling, chief, Climate Assessments Section, director NCA Technical Support Unit at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; Lang Hornthal, co-executive director for the nonprofit group Ecoforesters, an Asheville-based forestry organization; and Lisa Jennings, U.S. Forest Service, recreation manager at the Grandfather Ranger District. The panel discussed and answered participant questions about how intense pressures on mountain ecosystems are disrupting plant and animal species and what communities within, and outside, the forests can do to help.

View the event recording below.


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