This document presents a revised framework for the classification of natural communities in North Carolina. Natural communities are central to the work of the Natural Heritage Program. Tracking occurrences of good examples of them comprises a major portion of the program’s inventory and database work. Natural communities are important components of biodiversity. They also represent a crucial means of conserving species diversity, as they offer a means of capturing many of the poorly known and un-tracked species that occur in them. The classification of natural communities has also proved useful for a variety of other purposes, including guiding research, organizing ecological information, characterizing sites, and defining habitat for particular species.
Books and publications recommended by George Ellison on North Carolina’s natural heritage:
Exploring North Carolina’s Natural Areas: Parks, Nature Preserves, and Hiking Trails (UNC Press, 2000) edited by Dirk Frakenberg, is a collection of 36 Tour Guides divided among the coastal, coastal plain, piedmont and the mountains.
Wildflowers and Plant Communities of the Southern Appalachians and Waterfalls and Wildflowers in the Southern Appalachians: Thirty Great Hikes (UNC Press) by Timothy P. Spira
Three hundred years ago, the southern Appalachians were home to the sovereign Cherokee Nation. Over fifty towns and settlements were connected by a well-worn system of foot trails, some of which later became wagon roads turnpiked by Cherokee turnpike companies. This Indian trail system, which climaxed around 1800, was the blueprint for the basic circuitry of the region’s modern road and interstate system.
Stagnant European economies and the discovery of new natural resources sparked competitive world markets that led to wars between nations to procure land, gold, furs and slaves from North America. By the 1700’s, the British, French and Spanish were fighting for control of the modern Southeast. Continue reading
History, poetry, and children’s literature inspired by the Great Smoky Mountains will be featured in “Books to Take Backpacking,” presented by the Friends of Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Historian Margaret Brown, poet Thomas Rain Crowe, and children’s author Ann Clayton will read from their works at 3 p.m.Sunday, April 15, at Malaprop’s Bookstore and Café, 55 Haywood St in downtown Asheville. This “Writers at Home” event will encourage and inspire stewardship of the Great Smoky Mountains, and is free and open to the public.
At 250 million years of age, the Appalachians are now passing through the mature phase that such violently uplifted terrain experiences as it erodes and becomes extraordinarily diverse in two regards: plant life and distinctive natural communities.
Those benchmarks apply to the entire range from the Gaspe Peninsula in Canada to the foothills of Alabama. But the greatest diversity, in both regards, is attained in the Southern Blue Ridge Province, which extends from just south of Roanoke in Virginia to Mount Oglethorpe in north Georgia, encompassing portions of east Tennessee, Western North Carolina and northwest South Carolina. Continue reading
The Astronomy Club of Asheville is a501(c)3, non-profit organization that is open to visitors and is dedicated to helping people understand and enjoy astronomy at all levels of interest. No equipment is needed to participate. Many of us have one or more telescopes and either observe or image or both. Some of us observe using only binoculars or our unaided eyes. But all of us love the night sky, and we enjoy both learning more about it and sharing our knowledge of it with others. Click here for Meeting and Star Gazes
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