The Nature Conservancy (TNC) in 2009 celebrates the milestone of 40 years in South Carolina, an acknowledgment of the organization’s longstanding commitment to protecting the state’s invaluable natural resources.
For its first project in South Carolina, TNC in 1969 partnered with the National Audubon Society to establish the Francis Beidler Forest, one of the state’s last remaining tracts of ancient-growth cypress forest. In the years since, TNC has partnered strategically with numerous organizations, including the S.C. Department of Natural Resources (DNR), the U.S. Forest Service, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, the S.C. Conservation Bank, and Ducks Unlimited, as well as private landowners, to establish and expand protected areas throughout the state. These areas include 195,000 protected acres in the lower watersheds of the Ashepoo, Combahee, and Edisto rivers (ACE Basin), as well as fragile marine areas along the coast and scenic rivers in the lower Blue Ridge region of the Upstate. In fact, since its inception in 1969, TNC has protected more than 322,000 acres in South Carolina.
South Carolina hosts an abundance of diverse wildlife, plants, and ecosystems. The state’s longleaf pine forests, extensive wetlands, and coastal waters are some of the best and most productive habitats of their kind. However, it’s uncertain whether these valuable natural communities will remain healthy without the benefit of continued conservation efforts.
Although South Carolina ranks 40th among all states in land area, it has the 10th fastest growing population and rate of urbanization in the country. Protecting natural habitats and promoting economic growth walk hand in hand, especially considering the state’s top two industries ─ tourism and forestry. TNC’s work protects the natural resources, aesthetic beauty, and recreational opportunities that contribute to quality of life, which attracts both tourists and knowledge-based industries, along with the skilled workers needed to support them. Furthermore, land protection efforts support forestry, the state’s second leading industry and top wage-payer.
The Nature Conservancy has been at the forefront of the state’s conservation efforts for more than four decades. TNC appreciates and greatly values the support of the community and the Conservancy’s members as it steadfastly approaches the next 40 years.
The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people. The Conservancy and its more than 1 million members have protected nearly 120 million acres worldwide. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the Web at www.nature.org.
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