Reforestation of Red Spruce (Picea rubens) on the Cheat Mountain Range, West Virginia

The Cheat Mountain salamander (Plethodon nettingi) is a federally endangered species that relies heavily on red spruce (Picea rubens) for habitat. P. rubens communities on the Cheat Mountain range in West Virginia have been disturbed by fires and logging, and regeneration of P. rubens stands are central to the survival of P. nettingi. A supervised and unsupervised landscape classification of three Landsat images over the past 26 years was conducted to analyze change in P. rubens communities on the Cheat Mountain range. Change detection results revealed that from 1986-2012 P. rubens stands had a growth increase of 52%, 18% loss, and 29% stayed the same over the last 26 years. P. rubens stands are vital habitat to the federally endangered P. nettingi and regrowth of P. rubens is vital in restoring a healthy population of the salamander on the Cheat Mountain range.

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