Ecological impacts have been witnessed across the Southern Appalachians within the past 100 years — logging, damming of rivers and streams, development encroachment, utility right-of-ways and roads, introduction of invasive plants, pests, and diseases, and the general degradation of air and water quality. Thanks to concerted efforts by botanic gardens, state and government organizations, and non-profits, we can work to recover these damaged ecosystems. The Southern Highlands Reserve recognizes the uniqueness of our location at 4300′ elevation to help grow and provide native plants for research and restoration.
The Southern Appalachian Spruce Restoration Initiative
SHR works with local, state and federal partners to help restore red spruce to the forests of Western North Carolina.
A primary example of an observed decline in regional biodiversity is that of the spruce-fir forest. SHR’s Red Spruce Project has been designed in response to this marked decline, caused by such human-created problems as extensive logging in the 1900s and the introduction of deadly pests from foreign regions. At one time, the spruce covered vast expanses of the mountain landscape, but now is only found in sparse populations.
McKinney Meadows Project
SHR shared their knowledge of design and horticulture to help develop a conceptual master plan, management, and maintenance plan for the McKinney Meadow in Cashiers, NC.
In our efforts to forward sustainable ecological design in our community, staff shared their knowledge of design and horticulture through participation in the development of a conceptual master plan, management, and maintenance plan for the McKinney Meadow in Cashiers, NC. The creation of the master plan was a critical step in submitting the land into a land trust for conservation.