Atlantic White Cedar Restoration on the Albemarle-Pamlico Peninsula

Young AWC seedling

A young Atlantic white-cedar planting at one of our restoration sites.

The Coastal Federation is facilitating the restoration of Atlantic white-cedar, also known as juniper, within the Albemarle-Pamlico region of coastal North Carolina.  This project set out to restore 50 acres of Atlantic white-cedar forests on private lands. The restoration provides vital habitat for birds and wildlife and helps restore the natural hydrology of the land.  In collaboration with the US Fish and Wildlife Services (USFWS), the federation has been working on this project since 2012.

Atlantic white-cedar, Chamaecyparis thyoides, was once a well-established ecosystem on the Albemarle-Pamlico peninsula of North Carolina. Then, more than 500,000 acres of juniper covered the Eastern seaboard. Less than 5 percent of that acreage remains.

Much of the peat lands along the Alligator River and in the Great Dismal Swamp, where much of the cedar forests grew, were ditched and drained for farming in the late 1700s. That made the land unsuitable for cedar. White-cedar prefer waterlogged soils rich in peat, which is made up of partially decayed plant material.

Through this restoration project, the federation and USFWS partner with private landowners with appropriate soils who want to plant juniper on their property. The end product will be the planting of 123 acres of juniper or about 70,000 trees.


Trees were planted in the following locations:

Hyde County

Private Landowner- 4 acres

Wysocking Wildlife Preserve- 58 acres

To be completed in 2020:

Columbus County

Waccamaw Preserve- 59 acres

Carteret County

North River Farms Preserve- 1.5 acres

Partner Involvement

The federation, USFWS, the N.C. Forest Service, Hyde County and Carteret County Soil and Water Conservation Services as well as the N.C. Coastal Land Trust have all been active in identifying and recruiting landowners for consideration of the program.


Erin Fleckenstein, Coastal Scientist; Manager, Northeast Regional office