Proceedings from The Conference on High Elevation Forests

Snowshoe Mountain Resort, May 14-15, 2009

Edited by:
James S. Rentch, West Virginia University and Thomas M. Schuler, U.S. Forest Service

The event brought together managers, practitioners, and researchers working to better understand the unique issues relevant to high-elevation forests in the central and southern Appalachians. Charles Cogbill (Harvard Forest) summarized the biogeography of high-elevations forests in the central and southern Appalachians, Carolyn Copenheaver (Virginia Tech) provided insight into the historical conditions of high-elevation forests in the region, Greg Nowacki (U.S. Forest Service) summarized the current state of the forest, and Mark Anderson (The Nature Conservancy) addressed how climate change may influence these forests in the future. The conference also consisted of 42 offered oral presentations and 14 posters.

Sessions were organized to cover topics relevant to acid deposition and nutrient cycling, ecological classification and forest dynamics, avifauna, wildlife and fisheries, forests pests and climate change, and regeneration and restoration. A plenary session was also devoted to a panel discussion to highlight the efforts of the informally chartered High Elevation Conservation Working Group [CASRI] and to invite new cooperators to this multi-partner initiative. The conference concluded with a field trip to Snowshoe Mountain Resort sites that exemplified conservation issues relevant to high elevation wetlands, the recently delisted West Virginia northern flying squirrel, the threatened Cheat Mountain salamander, silvicultural options for active restoration of high-elevation forests, and soil characteristics unique to high-elevation spruce forests not impacted by high-intensity wildfires. Interest in continuing this conference on a reoccurring basis was expressed by many in attendance.

Steering Committee:

  • W. Mark Ford, U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center, Vicksburg, MS
  • Shane Jones, Monongahela National Forest, U.S. Forest Service, Bartow, WV
  • Thomas Minney, The Nature Conservancy, Elkins, WV
  • James Rentch, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV
  • Thomas M. Schuler, Northern Research Station, U.S. Forest Service, Parsons, WV
  • Jack Tribble, Monongahela National Forest, U.S. Forest Service, Elkins, WV