Overall Rating Silver
Overall Score 53.85
Liaison Vic Shelburne
Submission Date Nov. 26, 2018
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Clemson University
OP-10: Biodiversity

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Vic Shelburne
Fellow, Clemson University Commission on Sustainbility
Forestry and Environmental Conservation
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution own or manage land that includes or is adjacent to legally protected areas, internationally recognized areas, priority sites for biodiversity, and/or regions of conservation importance?:

A brief description of the legally protected areas, internationally recognized areas, priority sites for biodiversity, and/or regions of conservation importance:

Consistent with the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN): A protected area is a clearly defined geographical space, recognized, dedicated and managed, through legal or other effective means, to achieve the long-term conservation of nature with associated ecosystem services and cultural values. Protected areas include areas managed mainly for, in part: Conservation through active management (i.e., Habitat/species management area) and Sustainable use of natural resources (i.e., Managed resource protected area)

The Clemson Experimental Forest’s (CEF) 17,500 acres are dedicated to education, research and demonstration in order to better understand and manage forest resources for the benefit of society. These essential resources include clean air, clean water, pleasing aesthetic qualities, abundant wildlife, protection of species and habitat diversity, recreation opportunities, along with commodity products from the forest. The forest is managed strictly for perpetual sustained or improved yield of these products. The Clemson Experimental Forest personnel, equipment, supplies, roads, recreation facilities and maintenance are solely supported by revenue generated by the Forest.

Has the institution conducted an assessment or assessments to identify endangered and vulnerable species (including migratory species) with habitats on institution-owned or –managed land?:

Has the institution conducted an assessment or assessments to identify environmentally sensitive areas on institution-owned or –managed land?:

The methodologies used to identify endangered and vulnerable species and/or environmentally sensitive areas (including most recent year assessed) and any ongoing assessment and monitoring mechanisms:

In 2016, The Clemson Experimental Forest (CEF) underwent a complete Re-certification Audit by the Sustainable Forest Initiative (SFI). The audit met multiple objectives including; Forest Management Planning, Forest Health and Productivity, Protection and Maintenance of Water Resources, Conservation of Biological Diversity and Protection of Special Sites. A copy of the report is available;

The audit scope was “forest management”, and the audit objectives were to determine conformance of the organization’s SFI program against the SFI 2015-2019 Forest Management Standard, and to determine whether the organization’s SFI management system and on-the-ground activities conform to the SFIS. All applicable Objectives, Performance Measures and Indicators were audited, and no additional or modified Indicators were used. The re-certification audit was conducted under environmental auditing methodologies identified in the audit procedures section of the SFI 2015-2019 Standards and Rules document. Standard protocols and forms as found in the Bureau Veritas Certification SFI Auditor Handbook and auditor website were applied throughout the verification.

The next audit will be conducted according to the prescribed protocol.

A brief description of identified species, habitats and/or environmentally sensitive areas:

Objective 4-Conservation of Biological Diversity:
A Natural Resource Area Inventory and Guidelines evaluation and program was developed in 2008, and CEF is highly sensitive to the conservation of biological diversity. It has established a very diverse forest, maintained and enhanced on the old, eroded farmland which made up the majority of the property when it was obtained in 1934. Field observations indicated that harvests were very modest in size, and stand level wildlife habitat elements were maintained or developed in all stands audited. The CEF GIS program documents each stand by cover type and age class. There is a single federally listed plant, Smooth Coneflower (Endangered), previously known to occur on the property. A management plan was developed. CEF performed a field inspection and could not locate the plant. The site was field audited, and no occurrences were found. CEF has gathered and mapped ecologically significant wetlands on its ownership in their GIS. CEF is well aware of non-native invasive species. Kudzu has been eradicated from the property. CEF is a contributor and member of the South Carolina Exotic Pest Council. CEF is aware of the role of natural disturbances to forest health. They use prescribed burning on a limited basis. One very successful burn for the purpose of enhancing forest health was field audited. Clemson has gathered and mapped potential occurrences of FECVs suspected to occur on or near its ownership. Opportunity For Improvement: Interviews with the previous Forest Manager indicated that reported FECV occurrences had been examined during the 2008 natural resources inventory, but this is not well documented. It would be beneficial to re-examine the data and perform another field audit to confirm the previous conclusions.

Objective 6-Protection of Special Sites:
A natural resources inventory was performed in 2008 to identify ecologically important sites and provide management recommendations. These are mapped in the GIS. Clemson works with the SC DNR to provide proper management of special sites

A brief description of plans or programs in place to protect or positively affect identified species, habitats and/or environmentally sensitive areas:

Results of the re-certification audit indicate Clemson Experimental Forest’s SFI program continues to meet the requirements of the SFI 2015-2019 Forest Management Standard. Continued certification was recommended at the closing meeting held April 27, 2016. The nonconformance must be cleared by the lead auditor within 30 days of the closing meeting, and closed by the next surveillance audit in 2017.

May 3, 2016 follow-up. The nonconformance was closed on this date. See the SF02 for further details.

The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:

Additional documentation to support the submission:

The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution and complete the Data Inquiry Form.