By Steve Nash
The mountain chain referred to as the Blue Ridge lines a 550-mile arc via Pennsylvania, Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, South Carolina, and Georgia. alongside the best way, it encompasses Shenandoah nationwide Park, nice Smoky Mountains nationwide Park, the Blue Ridge freeway, seven nationwide forests, a variety of federal desolate tract components and country parks, and elements of the Appalachian path. it's the biggest focus of public lands east of the Mississippi and residential to an mind-blowing range of plant and animal existence. yet because the such a lot vast common quarter within the more and more populous Southeast, the Blue Ridge surroundings faces precise demanding situations within the subsequent decades.Drawing on medical learn in various disciplines, journalist Steve Nash presents a transparent and evenhanded advent to a couple of the main hotly disputed environmental matters dealing with the Blue Ridge, together with the invasion of unique vegetation and bugs, the explosive progress of suburban-style groups in usual components, worsening air and water toxins, and the erratic administration of nationwide forests. Informative and hugely readable, Blue Ridge 2020 takes a difficult examine what's in danger in those mountains and what we—as the "owners" of the general public lands—must do if we intend to maintain their destiny.
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Their future has been shadowed, instead, by the uncertain commitment of the human population on which they ultimately rely. Much of the project’s time and effort has been expended not in aiding the wolves but in fending off trouble between wolves and humans. ‘‘These wolves are predatory animals and they have become an exceedingly dangerous presence in eastern North Carolina,’’ North Carolina’s Senator Jesse Helms once told fellow lawmakers. ‘‘They slink onto private property, they attack and feed upon farm animals and livestock, and we have reports that at least one child has been bitten by a red wolf.
Their standards for predicting harm are low, and enforcement is weak. ∂ Taken together, these gaps in federal and state powers and their lethargic responses are serious threats to the nation’s ability to exclude, limit, and rapidly control exotics. Congress could: ∂ Expand the list of banned exotics and speed the process for adding new ones. It took two years for the government to decide that zebra mus- 35 Vectors ∂ ∂ ∂ ∂ ∂ ∂ ∂ ∂ ∂ ∂ ∂ ∂ ∂ ∂ ∂ sels were injurious. In that time, a precious opportunity was lost to control the spread of what is now a national aquatic menace.
Chestnuts were so plentiful that they made up about a quarter of the tree cover, and pure stands were not uncommon in the Blue Ridge. The chestnut’s rot- and insect-resistant wood supplied a long list of human uses, from ﬁne furniture to mining timbers. It was the most economically important tree in the East, and it was able to grow in relatively poor soils. The blight had spread throughout the Blue Ridge by the mid-1920s, and the trees were nearly all dead two decades later. The sudden obliteration has been called one of the greatest changes in a forest ecosystem ever recorded.