The University of the South, in partnership with The Nature Conservancy and the Forest Stewards Guild, has undertaken a comprehensive management process for the Domain that is designed to improve wildlife habitats, protect fragile species and ecosystems, and set an example of exemplary forest management in the region.
A primary component of the new management plan includes pursuing Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification for the Domain. FSC represents a global “gold standard” in forest management that aims to ensure that forests remain productive while protecting local water quality, maintaining a healthy forest cover, prohibiting hazardous chemicals, and respecting local communities.
Over the duration of this plan, most of the Domain’s forests will remain undisturbed from timber management. The plan focuses active management on areas where management has occurred previously and where significant deviation exists between current forest condition and desired ecological conditions as articulated by the Nature Conservancy in their climate resilience and vulnerability assessments. The plan includes strategic direction for habitat management using timber harvest, exotic species control, prescribed fire, and provides recommendations for recreational infrastructure improvements across the Domain.
On Thursday, May 2, from 2–4 p.m., at Gailor Auditorium, there will be a community town hall presentation about the plan. We invite the community to be part of this event. Representatives from the Nature Conservancy, along with members of the Office of Environmental Stewardship and Sustainability, will present some of the major components of the plan, and provide opportunity for community input.