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 285 landowners owning approximately 22,000 acres
- 205 Forest Management Plans have been created for approximately 12,500 forested acres
- 23 landowners have enrolled in the North Carolina Tree Farm Program
- Approximately 6,500 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
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. Click here to access the recording of the Prescribed Fire webinar that SFLRP convened with N.C. State Extension Forestry in August 2023.
Northampton Co. Landowner Profile: Keeping the Land in the Family
The project partners with Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment Forestry Master’s Program students to develop forest management plans as part of their Master’s curriculum. A lengthy article on the collaboration with landowner James Roger Peterson ran in the Spring 2018 issue of DukeEnvironment magazine. The Nicholas School also produced a six-minute video on the partnership. Additional details on the workings and benefits of the Nicholas School partnership are contained in this June 2023 blog that The Conservation Fund’s Jenna Schreiber published on our website.
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 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.
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.
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.
Engagement with young people like these students participating in a robotics technology workshop 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 2023 Youth STEAM Summit was held July 26th in Rocky Mount.
SFLRP team members confer regularly with their peers at other project sites and other forestry and agriculture professionals. In August 2023, SFLRP team members and several North Carolina woodland owners participated in the SFLR Network meeting in Brunswick, Ga. The Network, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary, consists of programs in seven other Southeastern states in addition to the North Carolina program. Learn more about the larger Network effort here.