Allison Welde is SFI Director, Conservation Partnerships and Communications, and identifies areas of potential collaboration with conservation groups and other SFI stakeholders.
The Wildlife Habitat Improvement Practices program at Clemson University, is one of nine projects awarded funding earlier this year as part of SFI’s Conservation and Community Grant Program. The goal of the Clemson program is to research and share wildlife habitat improvement practices, inform SFI Standard Objectives for wildlife management, and help other forest landowners implement activities to improve wildlife habitat. Through this program, Clemson aims to foster greater understanding, acceptance and support of responsible forest management by the general public. As part of their outreach efforts, Clemson recently launched a new website which provides background information and updates on the project achievements.
Clemson University students majoring in forest resources, wildlife and fisheries biology, and environmental and natural resource management are a key component in the success of the SFI-funded project. This fall, 42 undergraduate students enrolled in a Wildlife Management class are working with project co-directors to establish and sample a series of vegetation plots in demonstration sites to evaluate the effects of select silvicultural practices on wildlife habitat. Two graduate students enrolled in the course are also helping to develop a plan to have the Clemson forest certified to the SFI Standard. By participating in the project students are gaining a better understanding of integrated forest and wildlife habitat management, as well as the requirements and goals of the SFI program. The SFI project has become an invaluable teaching tool that is enriching the education experience of students majoring in natural resource management and related fields.
The Wildlife Habitat Improvement Practices program is not only researching best forest management practices, but will demonstrate lessons learned to those who can benefit from learning about improved management activities, including forest landowners, forest managers, foresters, wildlife biologists and conservationists who are interested in integrating wildlife habitat improvement practices into forests managed for timber products. Upon completion of the research, Clemson and its partners, including SFI, will host a field day to demonstrate their findings to landowners and managers, taking the next step to inform new practices that benefit wildlife, meet SFI requirements and assist in gaining public support for responsible forest management.
Check out the Clemson Wildlife Habitat Improvement Practices program’s new website and keep up to date with the great work going on there.