Near Brevard in Transylvania County, North Carolina — The American South (South Atlantic)
What killed the trees? The balsam wooly adelgid, a pinhead-size insect native to Europe, is responsible. It began attacking the Fraser fir forests here in the 1970s. The red spruce, unaffected by the adelgid, survives in the midst of this devastated forest.
Airborne pollutants that change the chemical composition of fog, rain, and snow also might contribute to forest decline. Studies suggest these pollutants combine with moisture in the air to form “acid precipitation,” one of the factors suspected of slowing the growth of trees and making them more vulnerable to disease and insect damage.
Scientists are seeking ways to reverse this forest decline. Meanwhile it is possible that future generations of Fraser firs will develop their own defense against these destructive influences.
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The adelgid usually selects a 15 to 20-year-old tree as a host. It feeds by inserting a slender mouthpart through the tree’s bark. This feeding causes cellular changes in the tree that block the tree’s ability to transport life-sustaining fluids.
Erected by National Park Service.
Marker series. This marker is included in the Blue Ridge Parkway marker series.
Location. 35° 19.634′ Touch for map. Marker is located On the Blue Ridge Parkway, at the Richard Balsam Overlook. Marker is in this post office area: Brevard NC 28712, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 11 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Highest Elevation on Blue Ridge Parkway (a few steps from this marker); North Carolina Confederate Veterans Memorial Forest (approx. 3.8 miles away); Devil's Courthouse (approx. 4 miles away); Restoring A Forest (approx. 4 miles away); Looking Glass Rock (approx. 7.7 miles away); Rutherford's Expedition (approx. 9½ miles away); Rutherford Trace (approx. 9.9 miles away); a different marker also named Rutherford Trace (approx. 10.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Brevard.
More about this marker. A picture of the needles and cones of Fraser Fir and Red Spruce appear on the marker. The sidebar includes an illustration of an adelgid feeding on the bark of a tree, along with the lifecycle of the insect, from egg to motile larva to resting larva to adult.
Also see . . . History of the Blue Ridge Parkway. (Submitted on August 29, 2012, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.)
Categories. • Natural Features •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on August 29, 2012, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. This page has been viewed 329 times since then and 32 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on August 29, 2012, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.