Wednesday, June 13, 2012

More Photos from the Smokies

Known as the “redwood of the east,” some of the largest and most common trees in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park are the Eastern Hemlocks. They can grow more than 150 feet tall with trunks measuring over six feet in diameter. Some hemlocks in the park are over 500 years old. Unfortunately, they are under attack from a non-native insect called the hemlock woolly adelgid (HWA). The last photo is of a giant dead Eastern Hemlock on the Alum Cave Bluff Trail in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park.

Ecologically, hemlocks play a vital role by providing deep shade along creeks, maintaining a cool micro-climate that is critical to the survival of many cold water species. The impact of widespread loss of the hemlock could trigger changes more significant than those that followed the demise of the American Chestnut.


mythopolis said...

Wonderful pics. Like looking at some other time...all the unspoiled beauty. It was man, wasn't it who killed the chestnut?

I was listening to the reports of vast raging fires out west. And it seems that the pine beetle there has created so much deadwood it can (does) turn a hillside into a pile of kindling. It is painful to observe.

Stickup Artist said...

Oh, those magenta flowers sprinkled throughout all that lush greenery accompanied by the sound of moving water, what could be better?