By Steven L. Stephenson
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Extra info for A Natural History of the Central Appalachians
Entomologists seeking to find an effective natural predator that could be used to control the adelgid have directed their efforts toward the hemlocks prevalent in southern China, where the trees have co-evolved with the insect pest. STRUCTURE OF A FOREST COMMUNITY In a well-developed Central Appalachian forest dominated by broadleaf trees, it is usually possible to recognize seven distinct strata (layers) of vegetation. These are the overstory (or canopy), understory (or subcanopy), sapling, shrub-vine, seedling, herbaceous, and ground layers.
At the time Brooks compiled these figures, there were still more than eighty-five square miles of virgin timber in just this one county (fig. 23). The presettlement forests of the Ridge and Valley section of the Central Appalachians were probably largely dominated by oak and chestnut, since similar areas of western Maryland were described by Shreve et al. ” Early survey notes recorded by George Washington between 1748 and 1752 in the general area of what is now Hardy County in West Virginia suggest an abundance of white oak, with northern red oak, chestnut oak, chestnut, hickory, and pine the most numerous of the other trees present.
Megalonyx is one of the extinct large mammals identified from fossils collected near the town of Saltville in extreme southwestern Virginia. The valley in which the town is situated is characterized by soils with very high levels of salt, and the presence of natural salt springs attracted numerous mammals, large and small, during the late Pleistocene. Particularly soggy areas within the salt marshes that must have made up large areas of the valley floor trapped some of these mammals, whose fossil remains have turned up in considerable numbers for more than two centuries.