Researchers use Uwharrie National Forest as living lab
UWHARRIE NATIONAL FOREST — The Uwharrie National Forest (UNF) is a living laboratory for botanists, biologists, anthropologists, historians and foresters.
Some of the work that has gone on or is continuing includes:
• The Schweinitz’s sunflower (Helianthus schweinitzii) is on the federal register of endangered plants and the Georgia aster (Symphyotrichum georgianum) is listed as threatened and expected to be designated endangered this year.
Both plants, according to the federal register, are relics of prairie-like habitats or post oak-blackjack oak savannas maintained by fires set by lightning and native Americans. Loss of this open habitat to fire suppression and urbanization has resulted in the decline of the species. Now, they grow in marginal and very vulnerable sites, such as roadsides.
District Ranger Deborah Walker said the N.C. Department of Transportation cooperates with the forest to relocate the plants when they are found along roadsides.
People who find them growing on their property are encouraged to let them grow or call the forest or N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission to have them moved.
Courtesy of the Asheboro Courier-Tribune. Read the entire article at www.courier-tribune.com