conservation

Nantahala old-growth trees in jeopardy of being cut down

Some people can't see the individual trees for the forest:

The U.S. Forest Service plans to harvest the majority of trees at 16 sites in Nantahala National Forest beginning next year as part of its Southside Project.

Conservation organizations argue the trees at several of these sites represent exceptionally older and rarer growth than the Forest Service has recognized and are calling for the project to be withdrawn or revised after the Forest Service completes the revision of its land management plan for the Pisgah and Nantahala national forests in Western North Carolina, a draft of which is expected later this year.

Before you jump to any conclusions, this is one of those issues where there might not actually be a "bad guy" to oppose. Forests are more than just a collection of trees, they are ecosystems, supporting life in various forms. And in order to adapt to climate change, the types of trees growing there might need to change, as well. All that being said, a tree that has survived for 200 years should be recognized and preserved:

Coastal Review publishes primer on critical habitats

The key to protecting endangered species:

Currently, more than 1,500 species are listed under the Endangered Species Act of 1973. As of January, though, critical habitat has been designated for 704 listed species, according to the latest figures from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the primary agency that administers the law.

There’s no one simple explanation for the lag. Officials in the agencies responsible for determining critical habitat blame funding and staff constraints for the backlog. Environmentalists and some academics say that politics also play a big part in missed deadlines because critical habitat designations are usually seen as threats to commerce and development.

Environmental heroes: SouthWings patrols the skies

Providing a bird's-eye view of potential environmental threats:

SouthWings collaborates with a range of effective conservation and community partners to increase collective, positive impact on environmental issues. Through the power of a first-hand aerial perspective, SouthWings provides an unparalleled way for funders, partners, and other key decision-makers to understand the most urgent environmental challenges in the Southeast.

At the heart of our work is the commitment of SouthWings’ all-volunteer pilot corps, collectively contributing hundreds of hours of time and resources each year to provide a unique perspective on environmental issues that would otherwise not be possible.

Based in Asheville, these volunteer pilots cover the entire Southeast and some Gulf states, and have spotted problems like dangerous algae blooms and other irregularities in rivers and lakes. But flying isn't cheap, so if you've got some extra cash handy, show them some love.

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