Skip to main content
padlock icon - secure page this page is secure

Endangered Species and Threatened Landscapes in Appalachia: Managing the Wild and the Human in the American Mountain South

Buy Article:

$20.41 + tax (Refund Policy)

Faced with the ideological and practical shortcomings of the American wilderness ideal, many environmentalists and scholars have redefined debates over managing wild lands in terms of biodiversity. Through a process of reduction, endangered species and threatened habitats have gradually become shorthand for biodiversity and hence touchstones of preservation efforts. This article draws on examples from the southern Appalachian Mountains to explore the benefits and drawbacks of placing endangered species and habitats at the centre of wildlands management, and suggests that this management rubric suffers from the same lack of historical context that plagues the wilderness idea. It traces the histories of two endangered habitats and their rare species in southern Appalachia. In the cases of endangered plants on Grandfather Mountain, North Carolina and the Roan Mountain grasslands along the Tennessee/North Carolina line, human disturbance actually benefited biodiversity. Contemporary management at both locations restricts traditional activities - activities that may have contributed to the formation and maintenance of these habitats - in the name of conservation but perpetuates similar disturbance practices in preservation efforts. This essay does not suggest abandoning the concept of endangered species or the work of the Endangered Species Act but instead warns against the facile replacement of the wilderness idea with a management alternative that carries many of the same burdens. The preservation of species and the rare habitats that support them is immensely important but managers must recognise that their preservation efforts always place an anthropocentric value on nature. Successful preservation of some of the most threatened species and landscapes depends on embracing this reality.
No Reference information available - sign in for access.
No Citation information available - sign in for access.
No Supplementary Data.
No Article Media
No Metrics

Keywords: Appalachian Mountains; endangered species; landscape management; public lands; wilderness

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: February 1, 2012

More about this publication?
  • Environment and History is an interdisciplinary journal which aims to bring scholars in the humanities and biological sciences closer together, with the deliberate intention of constructing long and well-founded perspectives on present day environmental problems.

    Environment and History has a Journal Impact Factor (2017) of 0.538. 5 Year Impact Factor: 0.792.
  • Information for Authors
  • Submit a Paper
  • Subscribe to this Title
  • Membership Information
  • Ingenta Connect is not responsible for the content or availability of external websites
  • Access Key
  • Free content
  • Partial Free content
  • New content
  • Open access content
  • Partial Open access content
  • Subscribed content
  • Partial Subscribed content
  • Free trial content
Cookie Policy
Cookie Policy
Ingenta Connect website makes use of cookies so as to keep track of data that you have filled in. I am Happy with this Find out more