By Carla Field
The bald cypress is on Black River property purchased by the Nature Conservancy.
Stahle led a group of media members and other interested parties on a paddling trip to the ancient cypress stand Thursday morning.
Stahle along with colleagues from the university’s Ancient Bald Cypress Consortium and other conservation groups, first discovered the trees in 2017, Science Daily reported.
Science Daily reported that the ancient trees are part of an intact ecosystem spanning most of the 65-mile length of the Black River.
The trees are scientifically valuable for reconstructing ancient climate conditions. The oldest trees extend the climate record in the southeast United States by 900 years. They show evidence of droughts and flooding during colonial and precolonial times that exceed any measured in modern times, experts say.
Less than 1% of original bald cypress forests survived the heavy logging of the past.
Next year, the U.S. Forest Service may take action on recommending that new acreage within Western North Carolina’s two national forests be added to the National Wilderness Preservation System as part of the ongoing Pisgah-Nantahala National Forest management plan revision process slated to be finalized in 2017.
Whatever the Forest Service recommends, approval will depend on congressional action. The positions of the House and Senate members who represent potential wilderness areas can be expect to have a substantial effect on the outcome of the political process.