WWC prof/alumna catalog plants in rare mountain wetland

Conservation efforts in a mountain wetland area near the North Carolina Arboretum are getting a boost, thanks to research from Warren Wilson College professor Amy Boyd and 2015 graduate Adele Preusser.

The pair collected and cataloged more than 300 species of plants in the Sandy Bottom Wetland Preserve, in the flood plain of the French Broad River in Buncombe County. In their recently published research, the scientists say their work will “inform future conservation management efforts on the property.”

Boyd, a biology professor at the college since 2001, said Sandy Bottom and other Appalachian wetlands are at risk.

“Wetlands, in general, are some of the most imperiled ecosystems worldwide, mostly because of land development by humans,” Boyd said. “In our mountains, this is compounded by the fact that they were rare ecosystems to begin with. Wetlands form in flat places where water can pool, but in the mountains, there aren’t a lot of flat places, so natural wetlands were uncommon even before habitat loss through development.”

Sandy Bottom Wetland Preserve is “used for education and research and is managed for conservation of several rare and threatened animal species,” according to Boyd and Preusser in their research published by the Southern Appalachian Botanical Society. However, a floristic study has not been completed at this level of detail until now.

Read more here.

 


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