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Wednesday, 06 August 2014 14:37

Highlands Biological dives into cliff ecology

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out cliffsA cliff face might not seem like a hospitable place to forge a life, but for a good-sized group of endangered species, the craggy ledges and rock faces re home. Programs Aug. 14-15 at the Highlands Biological Station will highlight these important habitats. 


• As part of the Zahner Conservation Lecture Series, Gary Walker of Appalachian State University will give a talk on cliff-face ecology at 6:30 p.m. Aug. 14. Walker, a forest ecologist, has been researching southern Appalachian cliff faces since 1982, his work taking him as far as Nepal and China. His research has unearthed entire plant communities of glacial relicts on cliff-faces, species previously unknown to science and ancient forests with trees older than 1,000 years. Free. 

•  Gary Wein, botanist and executive director of the Highlands-Cashiers Land Trust, will lead an expedition from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Aug. 15 to explore a montane red cedar woodland, a cliff-face community, along the Fish Hawks in Macon County. The site is part of an HCLT conservation easement and is home to many rare and unusual plants, and its dry climate supports a diversity of reptiles. Moderately strenuous, less than one-mile each way. Bag lunch provided. Bring comfortable shoes, sun and rain gear and water. $30 members, $35 non-members. Register at

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