Study Site Plan for Wild Alabama’s Save Alabama's Hemlocks Program
Bankhead National Forest, Alabama
Participation in the program to protect Eastern hemlock trees from the hemlock woolly adelgid (HWA), the non-native invasive aphid that kills hemlock trees, involves monitoring for the insect by visually inspecting hemlock trees’ foliage at sites in the Bankhead National Forest where the U. S. Forest Service is not already monitoring. For those who wish to adopt a site, additional study may be done to acquire a baseline assessment of the site and to track changes over time. This is very important information to have in the event of an HWA infestation. A plot study would be conducted as follows:
An appropriate site is selected for the project participants.
At the adopted site, a 10x10 meter plot will be established by using a measuring tape, string and corner stakes.
Within this plot, a 1x1 meter square frame made of pvc pipe will be set into each of the four corners and one in the center.
Participants will document every plant within each 1x1 square using iNaturalist, field guides or printouts for identification.
Observations will be documented using the Carolina Vegetation Survey data sheet. Everything documented within the corner squares will be given a value of 3. Everything documented outside the corner squares but within the 10x10 plot will be given a value of 2. Canopy coverage will be measured as well as each hemlock’s height and diameter. A photo of the site will be taken from the same spot on each visit.
To record the presence of life other than botanical within the plot, a bio-blitz may be conducted.
Outside the framework of the 10x10 plot, other relevant observations may be recorded, such as identification of other tree species nearby.
All the hemlock sites are near water. At each visit, water and air temperature will be recorded. Water quality monitoring may also be performed.
Nature journaling/art/writing onsite is encouraged.
Visual monitoring for the hemlock woolly adelgid is conducted from November through early March because this is the time of year that the aphid is in its fuzzy white nymph stage and can be easily identified. A plot could be established at this time. It is recommended (but not required) that the plot is set up and surveyed again during the growing season. Once each season would be ideal but is not required.
Wild Alabama staff are available to teach on site, train and assist in the setting up of the plot and collecting data, especially the first time out. Participants can adopt more than one site if desired. Wild Alabama provides all supplies and materials. Survey data may be used for participants’ study and will also be submitted to Wild Alabama.