Sandhills Longleaf Pine Conservation Partnership (SLPCP)
LIT Mapping Inventory Completed
By Charles Babb, SLPCP Coordinator, and Susan Griggs, USDA-NRCS
The South Carolina Sandhills Longleaf Pine Conservation Partnership (SLPCP) has completed its inventory of nearly 6,600 forest stands in the Partnership’s 465,000-acre focal area. With funding from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, Horry Georgetown Technical College interns have surveyed 180,928 acres of private land over the past three summers to collect information such as forest type, age, management activities, and understory condition. The data provides valuable information for targeted outreach efforts to landowners holding key pieces of habitat and assists with developing future funding requests. According to Charles Babb, LIT Coordinator, “the information allows us to visualize exactly what we have to work with, and the specific challenges and opportunities facing our restoration efforts.”
Darby Hamer, a 2019 forestry student, is grateful for the experience she gained through the internship. “Working with such a group of professionals allowed me to see the value of our classwork. Gaining experience with GIS and the whole longleaf ecosystem really has been eye-opening. I have learned a lot about critical species, the importance of understory management, and prescribed fire.”
The data shows that there are almost 48,000 acres of privately owned longleaf in the LIT focal area. “Since 2010, LIT Partners have been involved with planting nearly 20,000 acres, which means there is a great opportunity to educate landowners about future management needs. Sadly, we also discovered that we only have about 4,000 acres of mature longleaf under private ownership remaining in the area. That really limits what we can do to benefit certain species like RCWs, but also magnifies the importance of establishing new stands for the future,” said Babb.
Funding for the internships has been provided through the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.
Image 1: Darby Hamer stops for a quick photo during her data collection this summer. Hamer was the third student to help the SLPCP complete their LIT inventory. Photo by Lyne Askins, USFWS.
Chart 1: Inventory summary. This is the summary of the acreage that was mapped. (181,000 acres)