Through advocacy, education, and organizing, SABP seeks permanent protection for Southern Appalachia's public lands as well as sustainable management of its private lands. Based in Asheville, NC, this project defends public land as a refuge for ancient forests and native wildife. Promoting the reintroduction of native wildlife that has been extirpated from the region (such as the red wolf) has also been a priority. When necessary, SABP is prepared to take legal action to protect critical habitat and assure full enforcement of conservation laws on public lands. In part through its bi-monthly journal, Wild Mountain Times, SABP educates the public about how forest fragmentation, chronic air pollution, and exotic pests and diseases threaten native forests. SABP also advocates for an end to corporate welfare policies that hurt our economy and natural heritage. For more information, contact SABP at (828) 258-2667 or

A Treasure

The mountain forests of the Southern Appalachians are a priceless living treasure. Rising in north Georgia and extending into Kentucky and Virginia, Southern Appalachia hosts the highest mountains and largest collection of public land in eastern North America. Mountain balds and spruce-fir forests crest the highest peaks. Ancient rock outcrops and highland bogs rest on the mountain slopes. Rainforests feed waterfalls which tumble into river gorges. Precious ancient forests cloak backcountry ridges and coves.

Walking through old growth forests in the Southern Appalachians, one may find as many tree species as all that occur in Europe, among them white oaks 400 years old and poplars 150 feet tall. Black bear hibernate in the heart of ancient, hollow trees. The forest floor is rich with ferns, mosses, and wildflowers. Bird songs call from nests high in the forest canopy. Southern Appalachia's public forests are a critical refuge for endangered wildlife and one of America's great ecological treasures. The public forests are also a refuge for the people who like to hike, camp, and fish in the Southern Appalachian mountains each year. They offer a sanctuary of solitude and sanity in an over-civilized country.

In Trouble

Industrial logging in the beginning of the 20th Century crippled Southern Appalachia's ancient forest communities, rendered many species extinct, and wounded the health of the land. Now, after decades of recovery, Southern Appalachia's forests are threatened once again

Each day airborne pollutants from coal-fired plants and automobiles poison the mountain air, killing trees and acidifying streams. Urban sprawl and second home construction swallow the forests and farms on private lands. Intensive logging, road construction, and strip mining ravage our public lands.

During the last 20 years, tens of thousands of acres of national forest have been logged, many of them replanted as pine plantations. Over 5000 miles of roads have been cut across the steepest mountainsides on our national forests. Millions of taxpayer's dollars have been thrown away to carry out money-losing timber sales. Multinational mining companies are targeting the public lands for large scale strip mining.

As a result of these threats, ecosystems are collapsing and species are being rendered extinct. The very survival of many creatures and the health of natural and human communities is in jeopardy.

For additional information about the Southern Appalachian Biodiversity Project and forest health in Southern Appalachia, email

For internet resources about Southern Appalachian forests, visit

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