Restoring the forest

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Release of Suppressed Red Spruce Using Canopy Gap Creation

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This study reports the results of an understory red spruce release experiment in hardwood-dominated stands that have a small component of understory red spruce. Based on the results, we propose that a tree-centered release approach utilizing small canopy gaps that emulate the historical, gap-phase disturbance regime provides a good strategy for red spruce restoration in hardwood forests where overstory spruce are virtually absent, and where red spruce is largely relegated to the understory.

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Increase in red spruce growth tied to the Clean Air Act

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The Clean Air Act has had significant positive effects on both human health and our nation’s waterways. New research from Justin Mathias and Richard Thomas at West Virginia University, is showing that the Clean Air Act may signify even better news for our forests than we thought.  This study uses tree rings of red spruce in the Central Appalachian Mountains to explore growth trends before and after the Clean Air Act 

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Ghosts of the forest: Mapping pedomemory to guide forest restoration

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Soil morphology can provide insight into how ecosystems change following periods of extensive disturbance.  Soils properties can often be linked to historic environmental influences (e.g., vegetation or climate) to provide a record of pedomemory. Identification and mapping of soil pedomemory properties show promise in providing context for ecological restoration.

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Spruce and Soil Organic Carbon

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Through a partnership between the Monongahela National Forest and West Virginia University called the West Virginia Restoration Venture, two white papers, a “technical” and a “general” version, have been finalized.  They both describe the influence of red spruce forest on organic soil carbon.  Slides excerpted from a fascinating webinar by Dominick DellaSala on 26 Feb 2014, showing the Mon Forest as #11 in the nation in terms of carbon storage.


Ecological Modeling: Red Spruce

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The Journal, Ecological Modeling recently published two articles about red spruce.

Title: Climate change effects on red spruce decline mitigated by reduction in air pollution within its shrinking habitat range by Koo, K. A.; Patten, B. C.; Teskey, R. O.; Creed, I. F.; -- pp. 81-90
Ref#: 78097632IE

Title: Projection of red spruce (Picea rubens Sargent) habitat suitability and distribution in the Southern Appalachian Mountains, USA by Koo, K. A.; Madden, M.; Patten, B. C.; -- pp. 91-101
Ref#: 78097633IE

Both articles are available for purchase here


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