Ecological impacts have changed 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 nonprofits, we can work to recover these damaged ecosystems. Southern Highlands Reserve’s unique location at an elevation of 4,500 feet allows us to grow 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, spruce covered vast expanses of the mountain landscape, but now are found only in sparse populations.
McKinney Meadows Project
SHR helped develop a 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.