Articles in regional publications that pertain to a wide range of North Carolina-related topics.
for Wildlife in North Carolina Vol. 63 Issue 5, May 1999
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Many of the state's migratory songbirds that summer here and winter in Latin America are declining in numbers. Loss of tropical forests is one factor. Another is the change in the way coffee is grown. With the loss of forests over the last two decades, many birds moved into shaded coffee plantations where coffee plants are grown beneath the trees. Now many farmers are growing high-yield coffee varieties that need sunlight. Almost half of northern Latin America's coffee plantations have converted from shade to sun as of 1990, further reducing songbird habitats.
In the remote mountains of Western Carolina, a combination of high local rainfall, steep river and stream gradients, and erosion have carved the Jocassee Gorges. The greatest waterfall concentration in eastern North America is found there. Biologists have been coming to explore the rare plant life since French botanist Andre Michaux visited the area in 1788. Although not as fully explored as the plants, a variety of animals inhabits the area, including sixteen species of salamanders.
Since 1970, when the last setter took top honors, pointers have dominated the national field trial circuit. Now Ida O Priscilla, an English setter born in Kernersville in 1993, seeks to return glory to setterdom. A winner of the North Carolina Open Quail Championship and the Tar Heel Open Championship, Ida O narrowly missed winning the national championship in 1998. With five years of competition remaining, Ida O Priscilla's future is bright.
Giant salvinia, a highly invasive aquatic weed, has been found in nine eastern counties. Federal law prohibits sale of the plant, but it has been discovered at nurseries and water gardens. The plant can double in size in a few days. It can overrun coastal swamps and freshwater wetlands, choking native vegetation with a mat that be two feet thick and depleting water of oxygen.
North America has more species of salamanders, 110, than any other place in the world. The southern Appalachians are famous worldwide for their salamanders that have lived there millions of years. At least 34 species have been identified there. Ellis describes the variations in the salamanders and discusses how geography played a part in their evolutionary development.