The Appalachian region is the home of more species of plants and animals than any other temperate forest on earth. Through the long stretch of geological time, life forms have come and gone. Species such as the woolly mammoth disappeared from the Appalachian region long ago largely as a result of environmental changes. Human activity drove the woodland bison, the eastern elk and other large mammals to extinction in the 19th century. In our own time, the related forces of habitat fragmentation, pollution, climate change, and the global exchange of non-native species has greatly accelerated the process of species extinction. Among the greatest threats to the rich diversity of life in our mountains is the disappearance of the spruce-fir ecosystem dating from the last ice age.
Below is the Digital Heritage Moment as broadcast on the radio:
- European Wild Boars In the long history of invasive species in Appalachia, no story is more striking that that of the European wild boar. Often called Russian boars. . .
- Native Animals Western North Carolina is home to many different species of Appalachian animals. Here is a small list of the animals that reside in the area.
Black Bear (Ursus americanus)
- Great Smoky Mountains National Park
America’s first National Parks were created out West. By the early 20th century, Easterners who feared the loss of nature in their rapidly industrializing region wanted their own park. Business...
- Wetlands Southern Appalachian wetlands are gaining attention for the wealth of rare and unique life forms they support. In North Carolina alone, mountain bogs and fens provide habitats for nearly 90 species...
- Old Growth Forests Old-Growth forests conjures up visions of the great forests that once covered most of eastern north America, and of towering trees undisturbed by logging and human settlement. They provide a vital ...