Classification Assessment of High Elevation Wetland Communities
Wetland communities above 730 meters (2400 feet) elevation within the red spruce zone in the Allegheny Mountain region of West Virginia are characterized by exceptionally high biodiversity and conservation value. The highest conservation priorities at both the global and state levels are forested conifer and mixed swamps, ancient peatlands, and an ice-scour community. Documented species occurrences in the study area include 590 animal species and more than 900 plant species. Rare taxa include five mammals, 13 breeding birds, one reptile, three amphibians, two snails, two crayfish, 58 dragonflies and damselflies, six butterflies, four spiders, and 145 species of vascular plants. The study was undertaken by the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources with financial assistance from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.