Andrew Henderson and Sue Cameron survey a red spruce tree planting site in Tennessee
On Monday, October 23, 2017, in the midst of a local power outage and torrential rain, 250 red spruce trees, raised by Southern Highlands Reserve, were loaded onto a trailer and headed east, to Tennessee’s Cherokee National Forest. Two days later they were in the ground, growing just off the edge of Whigg Meadow, near the Cherohala Skyway.
The planting was the latest in a larger-scale effort to increase the amount of red spruce in the Southern Appalachians. One animal expected to benefit is the endangered Carolina northern flying squirrel. The trees provide denning sites for the squirrels, and also support one of the squirrel’s key food sources – mycorrhizal fungi or truffles - that grows in association with the tree. Staff from the Cherokee National Forest, Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, the Service, and students from the University of Tennessee helped with the planting.
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