Conservational Soap Box
Another that is more hidden in the disease and insects that have been imported throughout the years from non native species. One that poses a great threat is the Hemlock Wooly Adelgid. It's a small little bug that eats at the Hemlock Trees. Hemlocks are evergreens, grow out by their lonsome or in groves. They are good shelter for about any bird or animal, but, their long branches and needles help the ground water too. They slow drip it. That and they cool the water below them. The loss of them would be catastrophic to "trout" waters. I was happy to read this article on Beetles to battle Wooly Adelgid and right there in beautiful Buttholeville. There is also the Pine Beetles that plague The South all over and heading north. South slopes that get good drainage and sun are good for Pines. I know quite a few now that are covered in dead Pines where they have been attacked by the Beetles. We need to get them too.
It's a shame to me that no more Controlled Burning takes place in either the Pisgah or Nantahala National Forests than does. Which is fractional. When the White Settlers came to the area the Red Settlers burned the woods on regular basis. Not necessarily a yearly thing but often enough. The Piedmont of North Carolina was a big prairie it burned regularly. Of course there was some woods, but east of the blue ridge was a swath of grass land. The woods of the Mountains varied from open woods to the sun loving brush. Hard wood ash puts base back into the ground, not as good as lime, but it does. Fire cuts back on crowding brush, letting sunlight in and making way for beneficial plants and trees. Pines love fire, some can't release seeds without it. Cherry Trees like burnt ground. There are a number of reasons for it, but man power to controll it seems to be an issue. And, personally, I feel like the Forest Service is afraid because it wouldn't be pretty to tourist. The woods have become thick in underbrush, such as Ivy*, that fires can easily get out of hand.
We say that we will never see the end of it. One thing I've learned over the last couple of years and my trip here to Iraq...Never say never.
* Mountain Laurel, we call it Ivy.