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Red Spruce Ecosystem Restoration in the West Virginia Highlands
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by Corey Bonasso, WV SSC and WVHC intern | 2008

Several thousand red spruce and balsam fir seedlings will be planted in the Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge in mid-April. Read how you can help and participate!

The West Virginia Highlands Conservancy continues its efforts to conserve and restore the Red Spruce/Balsam Fir Ecosystem in the West Virginia Highlands. Once covering over 500,000 acres, it has been reduced to less than 50,000. Many of the spruce lands were replaced by hardwoods following the logging of the past century. Remaining acreage, important for several rare, threatened and endangered species, is small and scattered. Projects on public and private lands are working to expand and connect patches of red spruce.

To protect the local genotypes of our spruce and fir trees, volunteers collect seeds from trees locally. Commercial growers then provide us with high quality seedlings, grown from these seeds, for restoration projects. Restoration areas are as diverse as destruction areas and include mine reclamation sites, permit mitigation, commercial and housing developments, on highways, home & property owners, as well as ecosystem restoration on public lands. It is part of a growing awareness of the importance of native species.

In April, we’ll have our annual Student volunteer weekend of tree planting in Canaan Valley. This event brings together students from Davis & Elkins College and several Clubs from West Virginia University. Along with the Sierra Student Coalition, Plant & Soil Science Club members and others will plant several thousand spruce and balsam fir seedlings on the Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge.

To fund our Red Spruce Ecosystem Restoration efforts we sell some of our seedlings. If you have a need for tree seedlings, consider using these natives. Professional nurseries are contracted to grow these top quality trees. They would do well in higher elevations of our State or in moist sites and north facing slopes in lower elevations. All proceeds go to support red spruce ecosystem restoration efforts in West Virginia.

Red Spruce: 2-0 plug 12-18 inches. These are a 2 inch plug 6 inches deep. These quality seedlings, available no where else, are the same product we have been using very successfully for many years.

Canaan Valley Balsam Fir: These husky trees, 12-18 inches, are a 1 year plug grown in a transplant bed for 2 additional years.

Spring 2008 Price for Balsam Fir or Red Spruce 100 for $195, 1,000 for $950
Plus shipping, flexible delivery dates April 2008. Limited availability - Minimum order 100.

For more information visit our website at or contact: Corey Bonasso (304) 287-7597

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