Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Forestry

Current AmeriCorps Member(s): Vahan Aivazian, Steven Caldwell, Thomas McManus

About:

This site has been filled for the 2017-2018 Recruitment Cycle.

Great Smoky Mountain National Park

Ridge upon ridge of forest straddles the border between North Carolina and Tennessee in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. World renowned for its diversity of plant and animal life, the beauty of its ancient mountains, and the quality of its remnants of Southern Appalachian mountain culture, this is America’s most visited national park.

Forestry

The Forestry team assists in all aspects of vegetation management, exotic plant management, native plant habitat restoration, and forest insect and disease control and monitoring. One major task assigned to the Forestry team is the preservation of the Eastern hemlock tree. The Eastern hemlock trees are some of the largest and most common trees in the Great Smoky Mountains. They play an ecologically vital role in cooling mountain streams and providing habitat for many other species. Unfortunately, they are under attack from a non-native insect called the hemlock woolly adelgid. Without successful intervention, the hemlock woolly adelgid is likely to kill most of the hemlock trees in the park.

Three different types of treatments are used at the park to kill adelgids on hemlock trees.  Foliar treatments  are when hemlocks are sprayed from truck-mounted nozzles with insecticidal soap or horticultural oils. Secondly, in systemic treatments, hemlocks that are too tall to be sprayed are instead directly injected or its soil drenched with insecticide. And finally, the park has been releasing predator beetles as a biocontrol since 2002 to help naturally curb the infestation. To learn more about the hemlock woolly adelgid or the unfortunate plight of the great Eastern Hemlock click the link here.

AmeriCorps Position Description

Partner Website: http://www.nps.gov/grsm/index.htm