Our culture, our community, our sense of place. These are all tied inextricably to the land. The Land Trust Program seeks to protect those incredibly special places that contribute to the culture and sense of place of their communities.
Upstate Forever was awarded Accreditation by the Land Trust Accreditation Commission in 2008, proving we meet the highest standards of our profession.
We at Upstate Forever cherish our relationships with the owners of protected properties, our partners in achieving our mission to protect special places in our region. If you are such a landowner, you are a part of a very special conservation community. We hope the resources on this page will not only serve to celebrate your land and your contributions to conservation, but also answer any questions you may have about land management within the terms of a conservation agreement. If you ever have any further questions, we hope you will contact our Land Trust Stewardship staff
What is Conservation Stewardship?
Conservation Stewardship is the perpetual monitoring of land protected by a conservation agreement and, when necessary, the defense and enforcement of that agreement. It is only through this ongoing relationship with both the land and its owners that Upstate Forever ensures the permanent protection of a special property.
Because we want to build a positive relationship with any new landowners who purchase or inherit a property, and since we want to ensure that all landowners understand their role in the conservation partnership, we monitor twice in the first year under new ownership. We may also conduct additional visits during periods of construction or development of the property, to gather information in order to respond to a reserved rights request, out of concern of a potential violation, or for other reasons.
Monitoring helps both Stewardship staff and landowners fulfill and better understand their role in protecting the property.
Even when no prior approval is necessary, some landowners choose to call us and discuss their plans to exercise a certain reserved right. This is always a good practice, as it allows us time to discuss what the conservation agreement does or does not allow, and to assure that both landowner and land trust are interpreting the document in the same way.
Wild Hogs are considered invasive and destructive to natural, agricultural and developed landscapes and the DNR encourages property owners to manage their populations. Did you know that there is no closed season or bag limit on these animals? In fact, no permit is required to lethally remove feral pigs from your property. There is, however, a permitting and tagging system implemented by the SCDNR to transport captured live hogs to the proper destinations. To learn more about these permits and other information regarding wild hog management, visit http://dnr.sc.gov/wildlife/hog/. You can also visit South Carolina Wild Hog Task Force pages through the Clemson Cooperative Extension site to access various hog-related resources or to report a sighting: http://www.clemson.edu/extension/natural_resources/wildlife/wildhogs/index.html
Believe it or not, prescribed burning can actually help control and minimize hazardous wildfires and can be great for the people and the land. Many ecosystems rely on fire to remain healthy. If they go without a good burn for too long, trees begin to overcrowd and stress, species disappear and flammable fuels build and become dangerous. Human controlled burning can help reduce these risks and allow forest habitats to thrive. If you feel a burning is necessary on your property, a specialist can write a burn plan. Burn plans identify the best conditions in which a safe and successful burn can take place; some considered conditions include temperature, wind, moisture and humidity. Visit the South Carolina Forestry Commission website for more information on wildland fires and smart burning: http://www.state.sc.us/forest/fire.htm
“Prescribed fire allows land managers to mimic natural fire systems and perform the burning under conditions that favor societal wants and needs.” –Bob Franklin, Clemson Cooperative Extension
In the United States each year, more than 50 percent of newly planted trees will not make it past two years. When one considers planting new trees on their property, they should think about several factors. Trees often go through a state of shock, transplant shock, when dug up and moved from the nursery to your yard. This shock creates a stressed tree that is more susceptible to the effects of drought, disease and many other problems. Since tree roots grow mainly horizontal, often stretching further than their branches, 95% of the roots are severed during transplant. To help the tree survive this period, one must take extra care during the root-establishment period, which varies depending on the tree’s size when transplanted. Pruning is not recommended during this initial period as this will add to the root loss. Remember: root to top balance is essential! Other considerations include where you will plant the tree, a watering schedule and how much mulch you need to surround it with. Clemson Cooperative Extension and other online resources can offer landowners great advice on transplanting and raising healthy, full trees. Happy planting!
Many landowners are interested in deer management but experience the effects of rapidly growing coyote populations in the Southeast. Nearly 80% of fawn mortality is due to coyotes. The Quality Deer Management Association suggests taking several steps to help lower this number. They recommend providing additional fawn cover so that predators will have a harder time finding them. Research has found that most of the fawns that have been killed by coyotes were malnourished. Nutrition is key in wildlife management and they suggest landowners take steps to improve food sources available to deer. QDMA also recommends trapping over hunting for better control of this problem but admits that neither will make a practical dent in coyote populations due to their high reproduction rates and their ability to avoid humans. Coyotes should be hunted or trapped in April and May before fawning begins with intentions of temporarily reducing coyote populations and helping to increase fawn survival. For more information on deer management and coyote populations visit: http://www.qdma.com/, http://www.dnr.sc.gov/ and other wildlife management sites for facts, tips and other resources.
There are many reasons that landowners should consider planting native plants. These species provide proper habitat for native animals through food and cover that meet their traditional needs without damaging other local plant communities. The Natural Resources Conservation Service recommends planting vegetative buffers in order to help existing native plants thrive. Native plants and grasses work together with native animal species to provide shelters, breeding grounds and other resources necessary to conserve the natural habitat. Learn more about the benefits that native plants can bring to the wildlife community at the Natural Resources Conservation Service website and more specifically, this page: http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/detail/national/home/?cid=STELPRDB1166100
“In its most active form, forest stewardship is landowners who see their woodlands as more than timber awaiting harvest. They see them as tracts of natural beauty, full of life – and choose to manage them for the well-being and enjoyment of future generations.” SCFC
Two-thirds of South Carolina’s forestlands are under private ownership and it is important that landowners “manage their forests from seed to saw to seed” (SCFC). This is why the South Carolina Forestry Commission began the Forest Stewardship Program. The program is tailored for private landowners of ten acres or more and provides them with a multiple-resource Stewardship Management Plan. Landowners may also be eligible for a Stewardship Forest Certification and proper signage to mark your land as a Stewardship Forest. Visit the Commissions Forest Stewardship page for more information and who you can contact to start this process on your land: http://www.state.sc.us/forest/mstew.htm.
For more information about land stewardship, contact:
Laura Garrett Bain, Conservation Stewardship Specialist
(864) 250-0500 ext. 16