The objective of the Hemlock Restoration Initiative (HRI) is to restore eastern and Carolina hemlocks to their native habitats throughout North Carolina and to mitigate damage to hemlocks caused by infestation of the hemlock woolly adelgid (HWA). More specifically, our goal is to work with a variety of partners and current restoration initiatives to ensure that eastern and Carolina hemlocks can resist the deadly hemlock woolly adelgid and survive to maturity on North Carolina’s public and private lands.
The Hemlock Restoration Initiative is currently managed by WNC Communities, an organization focused on supporting community development and agriculture initiatives across Western North Carolina. Visit www.wnccommunities.org for more details.
The HRI is funded, in part, through the NC Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services, using funds from the state’s legal settlement with the Tennessee Valley Authority. It receives additional support and funding from the US Forest Service.
One of the main goals of the HRI is to develop and implement strategic plan for hemlock restoration in North Carolina. This involves:
- Identifying and establishing hemlock conservation areas
- Educating landowners on how to economically treat and manage the hemlocks on their properties
- Increasing the number of trees being treated on public lands
- Implementing Integrated Pest Management and long-term biological control of HWA
- Advancing the development of other control strategies and restoration techniques, including the search for HWA-tolerant trees and the growing conditions that hemlocks like best
In its initial months, the HRI has helped treat over 600 trees on conserved and state-owned lands, assisted with the release of over 6,000 HWA-predator beetles, co-hosted a 1.5 day forum on HWA biological control, and has informed dozens of individuals on how to go about treating their own trees.
How you can help:
- Join the HRI’s “Team Tsuga” for a volunteer hemlock treatment workday on one of our state forests, parks or game lands (a great way to learn first-hand how to treat your own hemlock trees)
- Invite the HRI to speak to your community, lead a hike, or participate in a local conservation-oriented event
- Use native, locally-sourced trees and other plants in your landscaping to avoid introducing other unwanted pests
- Feed the NCDA&CS Beneficial Insect Lab your unwanted adelgid (contact: Kathleen Kidd)
- Inform the Forest Restoration Alliance about any potentially HWA-resistant “survivor trees” that literally “stand out” in a stand of otherwise dead hemlock trees
- Follow the HRI on Facebook (“Save The Hemlocks”)
- Go here to learn how to make a donation or to contact us