Since its accidental arrival here from southern Japan about two decades ago, the hemlock woolly adelgid has killed hundreds of thousands of trees, devastating some forests in the region. Exact numbers are hard to come by, says Margot Wallston, statewide coordinator for the Hemlock Restoration Initiative, but hemlocks “are a major player in our forested and residential landscapes. Many local natural-resource managers estimate the loss to be upward of 80 percent, especially in areas with naturally high hemlock densities.” The initiative is a program of WNC Communities, an Asheville-based nonprofit.

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