appalachian studies

03/14/2020
Forests of the Southern Appalachians: Repairing the Past, Defending the Future

The theme for the 2020 annual conference of the Appalachian Studies Association was “Appalachian Understories.” Conference announcements cited, somewhat vaguely, the “Mother Forest.”  This was nice to see because the globally unique Southern Appalachian forests don’t receive much recognition, especially the world-class national forest commons.  Yet these nearly contiguous six million acres of Appalachian national forests, regrowing after historically horrific logging, are the region’s best hope against climate change.  My talk plays with both “Understories” and “Mother Forest” to describe how our forests […]

05/02/2021
A Sedimental Journey: How Historic Deforestation Degrades Waterways Today

 I was invited to give this presentation by my watershed group, Friends of the North Fork Shenandoah River.  In “A Sedimental Journey: How Historic Deforestation Degrades Waterways Today,” I use a forensics approach to find clues to history – and its long-term consequences – in our forests and streams today.  The word “Legacy” usually means something good received from the past, or created for the future.  “Legacy sediments” literally muddy this concept and are revolutionizing our understanding of truly […]