Roanoke lies within the Blue Ridge Mountains in southwestern Virginia and includes what E. Lucy Braun (1950) described as the Northern Blue Ridge division of the oak-chestnut forest. Obviously, the American chestnut has been lost as a dominant species from this region (although it remains as an understory species on many ridge top sites), but oaks, hickories, and tulip poplar are common in today’s forests. The narrow Northern Blue Ridge forest runs south to the Roanoke Valley (where the conference will be held) north to Maryland and sometimes spans no more than 20 km in width. The forest is bordered on the west by the oak-hickory forest of the Ridge and Valley and to the east by the oak-pine forest of Virginia’s Piedmont.
Photo credit: Jennifer Gagnon