Articles in regional publications that pertain to a wide range of North Carolina-related topics.
for Wildlife in North Carolina Vol. 64 Issue 7, July 2000
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More species of fungi exist in North Carolina than anywhere else in the country. In the Great Smoky Mountain National Park, 10,000 species are identified, but scientists estimate another 90,000 remain unidentified. In the year 2000, a survey began to identify all the park's fungi. Other teams will map and identify everything from the park's viruses to mammals. When the project is completed in fifteen years, park managers will have the first comprehensive assessment of the Smoky Mountains' biodiversity.
In downtown Franklin in Macon County stands a tall, grassy mound, about 20 feet high and 450 feet around the base. The Nikwasi Mound, built a thousand years ago by the Cherokees, was a sacred ceremonial site in the center of their village on the Little Tennessee River. Town residents purchased the mound in 1946 to preserve it. Today Nikwasi and the Town Creek Mound near Mount Gilead are the state's only two mounds that are protected and open to the public.
Ginseng is an endangered plant that has medicinal properties highly prized by illegal harvesters. To help the North Carolina Department of Agriculture catch ginseng poachers, researchers developed a harmless dye to spray on the plant. The secret dye identifies an illegal harvest. Since 1993, eighty ginseng poachers have been convicted. Stealing an endangered plant is a felony.