Appalachian Landscape Conservation Cooperative
The Appalachian Landscape Conservation Cooperative supports some of the largest expanse of contiguous forest remaining in the eastern United States. Portions are recognized by the United Nation as biodiversity hotspots of global importance.
Thousands of miles of rivers and streams traverse mountainous terrain, which extends from southern New York to central Alabama, and from southern Illinois to central Virginia. It includes all or portions of the Blue Ridge, Valley and Ridge, Appalachian Plateau and Interior Low Plateau physiographic provinces. Scattered across the region are large urban centers, connected by rural communities, agricultural and grazing lands.
The LCC is still in its formative stages, but given existing partnership interest, the cooperative will likely focus on conservation planning and design for the recovery of federally listed aquatic species, migratory birds and bats. As resources become available, the partnership will also develop the capacity to address other priority taxa or unique ecosystems such as karst communities or high-elevation forests.
Trust resources include more than 85 federally listed and 15 candidate species. The region’s rivers support native brook trout, and one of the most diverse freshwater assemblages in the world. The Service’s Northeast and Southeast regions have designated in the Tennessee River basin three mussel species – purple bean, fanshell and orange foot pimpleback – and one fish, the diamond darter as spotlight species; similar designations are being developed or exist for other priority watersheds and river basins.
The region of the Appalachian LCC supports 85 to 90 percent of the cerulean warbler breeding population, as well as large populations of several other birds identified as focal species by the Service’s Migratory Bird Program. These include golden-winged warbler, wood thrush, Henslow’s sparrow, red-headed woodpecker, loggerhead shrike, American woodcock, American black duck and wood duck. Species diversity and the appearance of white-nose syndrome in cave bats heighten the urgency for a strategic and coordinated approach to bat conservation.