CLEMSON — The Clemson University Experimental Forest will be able to sell its harvested timber in a wider range of green construction markets after its forest management practices were certified to be sustainable by a third-party group of experts.

The forest’s 17,500 acres are among 103,000 acres of South Carolina timberland to be certified sustainable through a years-long process overseen by the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI). The group made the announcement at its annual conference in San Antonio.

“We are certainly gratified that the forestry practices we have been demonstrating here at Clemson since 1954 are being recognized,” said forest manager Knight Cox. “The great benefit to Clemson is that the timber harvested from the Clemson Experimental Forest will now wear the SFI label and can be sold on the green building market.”

The Experimental Forest has been under Clemson’s management since 1939 and is believed to be the largest research and teaching forest contiguous with the main campus of a public university in the U.S. The forest’s day-to-day operations, personnel, equipment, supplies, roads and public recreation facilities are supported solely by the revenue it generates.

Certification means that the management practices being carried out by forest managers meet a rigorous set of 14 independently audited principles that include measures to protect water quality, biodiversity, wildlife habitat and at-risk species.

“The Clemson Experimental Forest is dedicated to the teaching, research and demonstration of best practices in forest resource management to benefit society and the environment,” said Clemson University President James F. Barker. “We are proud that Clemson’s forest has met SFI’s science-based standard for sustainability. Our institutional commitment to sustainability is central to our land-grant mission, and SFI certification is another step toward becoming a carbon-neutral campus by 2030.”

The Clemson Experimental Forest is one of eight Clemson University Public Service Activities research facilities that include the Archbold Tropical Research & Education Center in Dominica, the Belle W. Baruch Institute of Coastal Ecology and Forest Science in Georgetown, the Coastal Research & Education Center in Charleston the Edisto Research & Education Center, the Pee Dee Research & Education Center in Florence, Research Farm Services and Sandhill Research & Education Center in Columbia.

“The Experimental Forest is a cornerstone in Clemson University’s mission to enhance South Carolina’s economy through teaching, research and outreach,” said John W. Kelly, vice president for economic development. “By earning SFI certification, Clemson leads the way in demonstrating forest management protocols that are both profitable and meet the highest standards for sustainability.”

South Carolina’s forest industry ranks first in employment among the state’s manufacturing sector and has a more than $17 billion annual economic impact on the state, according to the most recent agribusiness industry study.

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The Clemson Experimental Forest
The Clemson Experimental Forest includes 17,500 acres of mixed hardwood and pine forest dedicated to education, research and demonstration to develop and apply best management practices for timber, wildlife habitat and natural resources conservation. These resources include clean air, clean water, abundant wildlife, recreation opportunities and forest products.

Clemson Pubic Service Activities
Clemson Public Service Activities enhances the quality of life for South Carolina’s citizens by providing practical new discoveries, outreach education and technical assistance in the areas of agribusiness productivity and profitability, economic and community development, environmental conservation, food safety and nutrition, and 4-H youth development.

Sustainable Forestry Initiative
SFI Inc. is an independent, nonprofit 501(c)3 organization that is solely responsible for maintaining, overseeing and improving the internationally recognized Sustainable Forestry Initiative® (SFI®) program.


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