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Hemlock woolly adelgid, an exotic insect pest. Photo by Nicholas A. Tonelli, CC BY 2.0.

Combating invasive exotic plants in the Southern Appalachians

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Greetings and welcome to the Southern Appalachian Creature Feature.

Invasive exotic species are plants and animals that are not from here but have been introduced and are thriving in the absence of their natural controls, to the detriment of our native species. Kudzu is perhaps the most famous of these, a Japanese plant widely planted in the last century, but there are a host of others, including the chestnut blight that removed chestnuts from our Appalachian forests, the balsam woolly adelgid which has killed Fraser firs on our highest mountaintops, and the hemlock woolly adelgid which is killing hemlock trees.

Invasive species is an issue that crosses political and private boundaries, affecting land owners large and small. As a result, a collective solution is called for. For the Southern Appalachians, that’s where the Southern Appalachian Cooperative Weed Management Partnership comes in.

SACWP is a partnership of the US and North Carolina Forest Services, the National Park Service, Appalachian Trail Conservancy, Western North Carolina Alliance, and Equinox Environmental. Collectively they’re trying to prevent, detect, and control invasive exotic plants in the Southern Appalachians. They focus on key sites along the Appalachian Trail, and on National Forest and Park Service lands. At the heart of their effort is a cadre of volunteers – concerned individuals they train to identify, monitor, and help control invasive plants. For information on how to get involved, call 828253-6856.

For WNCW and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, this is Gary Peeples.

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The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. For more information on our work and the people who can make it happen, visit fws.gov. Connect with the Service on Facebook, follow our tweets, watch the YouTube Channel and download photos from Flickr.

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