Forest Ecosystems Gallery: Slide show

Gallery

This gallery contains 80 photos.

Click on the thumbnail to scroll through the photo gallery. Photos are roughly in chronological order, July 20-31st, 2015, for the 9th class of Forest Ecosystems of the Southern Appalachians at the Highlands Biological Station.

Forest Ecosystems Daily: Seeing the Forest with the Trees

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dave 3

Scaly assessment

On our last day of class, we climbed the section of the Bartram Trail toward Scaly Mountain. We hiked up into the forest and stopped. “What’s the story here?” was the question of the day, and indeed, of the whole Forest Ecosystems class–the question we answered for every site we visited. This time, however, Julie, Alan and I were quiet, while our students looked around, dug into the soil, assessed the canopy, measured the slope, counted the herbs, identified dead trees and conferred with each other. They were seeing the story of this forest for themselves.

Forest Ecosystems Daily: Rarest of asters

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Rhiannon's aster (Symphyotrichum rhiannon) may only exist at the Buck Creek Serpentine Barren, an unusual serpentine soil habitat managed by the US Forest Service in Clay County, NC. Small preserves like this one are important to conserve plants and animals that need specialized habitat--in addition to the aster, four species of butterflies also call Buck Creek their only home in the world.

Rhiannon’s aster (Symphyotrichum rhiannon) may only exist at the Buck Creek Serpentine Barren, a small and unusual serpentine soil habitat managed by the US Forest Service in Clay County, NC. Small preserves like this one are critical to conserve plants and animals that require specialized habitat–in addition to the aster, four species of butterflies also call Buck Creek their only home in the world.

Forest Ecosystems Daily: Bogs from above and within, Panthertown Valley

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alan panthertown view

Look for the flat, treeless bog in Panthertown Valley from the summit of Little Green.

bogging at panthertown

Inside the Panthertown bog. Bogs are rare habitats and are home to many rare and specialized species.

sphagnum mosses 5 species

A soggy bouquet with five species of sphagnum: Sphagnum recurvum (green), S. capillifolium (yellow green), S. bartlettianum (red), S. angustifolium (yellow), S. fuscum or S. warnstorfii (brown).

Forest Ecosystems Daily: Wolf Mountain Overlook, Blue Ridge Parkway

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Sticky false asphodel (Triantha glutinosa) in flower on the left and in fruit on the right, ekes out a living in the wet, dripping rock face on the Blue Ridge Parkway near Wolf Mountain overlook. Many plants take advantage of abundant light and moisture that are available where the road was blasted through to create the Parkway.

Sticky false asphodel (Triantha glutinosa) in flower on the left and in fruit on the right, ekes out a living below the wet, seepy rock face on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Many plants take advantage of abundant light and moisture that are available where the road was blasted through to create the Blue Ridge Parkway. Gorgeous hanging gardens are the happy and unexpected result. New plant for me!

Forest Ecosystems Daily: Carolina Northern Flying Squirrels (i.e., Not all plants all the time)

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Wildlife biologists Summer (L) and Cordie (R) joined us at Roan High Bluff to share their work on data collection methods for the elusive Carolina northern flying squirrel, Glaucomys sabrinus coloratus, a federally endangered specei

Wildlife biologists Summer Higdon (L) and Cordie Diggins (R) joined us at Roan High Bluff to share how they collect data for the elusive Carolina northern flying squirrel, Glaucomys sabrinus coloratus, a federally endangered species. Their niche in these high elevation spruce-fir forests, where they dig for truffles that grow just below the soil surface. At lower elevations, they are unable to compete with the more aggressive southern flying squirrel for nesting sites. They’ve trapped and radio-collared several squirrels at Roan High Bluff, luring them with an enticing recipe of molasses-peanut butter-bacon grease mixed with rolled oats on top of an apple.