Our Projects

​Since its inception in 2013 as one of only a handful of similar programs nationwide, the Sustainable Forestry and Land Retention Project has grown immensely:​

  • The project is assisting more than 250 landowners owning approximately 20,000 acres
  • 167 Forest Management Plans have been created for approximately 11,000 acres
  • 22 landowners have enrolled in the North Carolina Tree Farm Program
  • Approximately 5,700 acres are enrolled in the Present Use Valuation program that provides an economic benefit through the reduction of property taxes

Sustainable forestry and land retention practices include:

  • planting trees after harvest
  • detailed forest management plans
  • developing wills and clearing the title of heirs’ property
  • timber sales

Some of Our Success Stories

Prescribed Burns

SFLRP program participant Maudie Chambers of Hertford County implemented an important forest management practice, a prescribed fire, in early 2022 with guidance from experts at the North Carolina Forest Service. Prescribed fires help mitigate the spread and intensity of wildfires. They also increase forest resilience to pests and diseases.


James Peterson standing on his farmlandNorthampton Co. Landowner Profile: Keeping the Land in the Family

​The project partnered with Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment Forestry Master’s Program students to develop a forest management plan for project landowner James Roger Peterson as part of their Master’s Program curriculum. A lengthy article on the collaboration ran in the Spring 2018 issue of DukeEnvironment magazine. The Nicholas School also produced a six-minute video on the partnership.


Avis Gray: Former Land Inheritor, Now a Forester

In this “Faces of the Forest” video, landowner Avis Gray shares the story of her transformation into a passionate forester and farmer on the 67 acres in Windsor, N.C., that she inherited from her grandfather in 2011 — part of what once was a much larger holding originally acquired by her great-great-grandfather.


Curtis and LaDonna Barnes with a sign for their tree farm

Forest Certification

​Curtis and LaDonna Barnes own a 36-acre farm that includes 17 acres of loblolly pine trees. Their project participation achieved the development of a forest management plan that earned their property a North Carolina Tree Farm forest certification.



William and Regenia Battles with Alton PerryTimber Sales

Landowners William and Regenia Battle (pictured with SFLRP Director Alton Perry) accept a participation certificate following development of a forest management plan that recommends a timber sale.



Agriculture Resilience

Heirs of the Richard Wills Family Farm in Halifax County are participating in the Carbon Farm Planning Project. This is a partnership among the Hulan Johnston family, SFLRP, the NC Foundation for Soil and Water Conservation and other organizations on a pilot project designed to increase the adaptive capacity of working land. It provides others the chance to learn about conservation practices and the availability of the technical resources that can help plan, finance and implement them.


Two 4H students conducting a laboratory water test

Career Opportunities

Engagement with young people like these 4-H students conducting a water test (left) is a fundamental element of the project. We organize a Youth STEAM Summit each summer for middle and high school students to highlight opportunities in Science, Technology, Engineering, Agriculture and Math. In the agricultural area, topics included land ethics, forestry and career pathways. Dozens of young people participate. The 2022 Youth STEAM Summit was held July 29th in Rocky Mount.



Strategic Planning

SFLRP team members confer regularly with their peers at other project sites and other forestry and agriculture professionals. In early June 2022, SFLRP Director Alton Perry (front row, second from left) participated in the SFLR Foresters Caucus meeting in Greenville, S.C. The caucus attended the Southern Group of State Foresters meeting where they met with management chiefs with the U.S. Forest Service and the state foresters representing 13 Southern states. In addition, the caucus held a planning meeting to develop forestry strategies and goals for the SFLR Network.