Restoring the forest

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Flying High!

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Scientists work to protect a flying squirrel and its red spruce home.

The new April/May issue of Nature Conservancy magazine has a 10-page feature spread on the West Virginia northern flying squirrel and red spruce forest restoration being done by CASRI!


Monongahela National Forest receives $3 million to improve stream quality and restore red spruce forests

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. — West Virginia will receive nearly $3 million for improving stream quality, wildlife habitat and forest resiliency under a multistate Landscape Restoration Partnership between the U.S. Forest Service and the Natural Resources Conservation Service.

The partnership will invest $30 million in 12 states this year. In West Virginia the money will be used to "leverage the technical and financial resources by collaborating not only with the Forest Service but also with our nonfederal partners across the state," said Kevin Wickey, state conservationist for the NRCS.

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Ancient trees saved by a mistake

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DURBIN, W.Va. -- The Gaudineer Scenic Area is what West Virginia's mountain highlands originally looked like.

The 140-acre tract is dominated by virgin and second-growth red spruce, the tree that once flourished on West Virginia's mountaintops.

Red spruce thrives at elevations of 3,800 feet and higher. The result: dark green ridge tops and northern islands through the West Virginia Highlands.


A popular wild Christmas tree, Canaan fir, is imperiled because of a ravenous bug

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In West Virginia's scenic Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge, with its gently sloping mountains and emerald acres of timber, Mike Powell relishes the perks of his job as a caretaker of the land: the sounds of a gurgling stream and the fresh pine scent of evergreens.

But one sight deeply troubles him — the haggard look of the valley's fabled Christmas trees. Some are bent like old men. The eye-popping green hue that makes people want to adorn them with ornaments had yellowed. A few were covered with hideous waxy balls, a telltale sign that they were under siege by the balsam woolly adelgid, a tiny insect with a notorious reputation among entomologists, who call it "the bug that ate Christmas."


A Bug's War on Christmas

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The Nature Conservancy is working to protect the Canaan Valley fir, a type of Balsam fir native to isolated areas in the mountains of West Virginia. While the popular Christmas tree is thriving on tree farms, it's struggling in the wild thanks to an invasive insect.

Keep up with The Nature Conservancy's latest efforts to protect nature and preserve life on Twitter and Facebook


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Who are we?

This website has been established and is being managed by the West Virginia Highlands Conservancy to support the work of the Central Appalachian Spruce Restoration Initiative (CASRI).

CASRI is a partnership of diverse interests with a common goal of restoring historic red spruce-northern hardwood ecosystems across the high elevation landscapes of Central Appalachia. It is comprised of private, state, federal, and non-governmental organizations who share a recognition of the importance of this ecosystem.

Contact Us

For more information, and volunteer opportunities, please contact :

Julie Fosbender

Partnership coordinator

US Forest Service

Monongahela National Forest

P: 304-636-1800

f: 304-637-0582