Innovative approaches such as land restoration and private-public partnerships, as well as revisiting tried approaches such as herd grazing and indigenous land management, offer partial answers to the challenges of a changing climate in WNC forests.
When invasive plants reach into productive “rich coves” like Sandy Mush, they can choke out much of the region’s native biodiversity. Endangered and sought-after plants such as yellow mandarin, black cohosh and wild ginseng, as well as thousands of other species of native plants and animals, can be at risk.
As local land trusts bring thousands of acres under protection, the challenges of maintaining the health of those lands grow. And raising money for ongoing efforts to control invasive plant species, deter pests and protect water quality can be a much tougher sell than the initial push to save a beloved tract from the threat of development.