The forests of the central Appalachian Mountains are an important resource to the millions of people who live in and around the area and to the many visitors to the region. These mixed hardwood forests cover about 78 percent of West Virginia and timber production from them is critical to the regional economy. However, these forests are equally important for providing clean water, biodiversity, and other benefits that contribute to forest resiliency. To meet current and future demands placed on these ecosystems, scientists at the Fernow Experimental Forest are developing information and techniques for sustainably managing hardwood forests in the central Appalachians.
Selected Fernow Research Results
- Showed that the type of forest management used directly affects site productivity
- Led to the development of two-age management following the clearcutting controversy in the 1970s
- Helped show that periodic fire is important to maintaining healthy oak forests in the eastern U.S.
- Demonstrated that moderate periodic disturbance is important in maintaining healthy populations of endangered running buffalo clover
- Showed that acid deposition can negatively affect stream and soil water quality
- Helped determine that carbon sequestration can be enhanced by forest management
- Showed that proper use of best management practices can reduce erosion and sedimentation of streams
- Demonstrated that the upland woodland salamander community is resilient to low to moderate intensity prescribed fires
- Contributed data to show the central Appalachian mountains provide important winter habitat for golden eagles
Some links on this page point to files in portable document format (pdf) - You may download a free pdf reader from Adobe.