A Review of Forestry Management Practices on Lands Owned by the S.C. Department of Natural Resources
As of October 2011, the S.C. Department of Natural Resources owned 280,025.44 acres of land across the state. According to DNR staff, the agency manages these properties for wildlife habitat first and timber harvesting is part of that process. From 2001 through 2010, DNR realized approximately $4.6 million in revenue from the harvesting of timber. All timber revenue must be retained by DNR and is used to fund the Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division.
Prior to 2006, each sale of timber was presented individually to the DNR Board for its approval. The agency developed a timber management schedule for
2006 – 2010 with all proposed actions on these properties for the DNR Board’s approval. On October 5, 2011, the DNR board approved the 2011 – 2015 schedule.
DNR does not have an agency policy regarding timber management; however, each property owned by DNR has a management plan. DNR staff reported that it cannot provide an estimate of the fair market value of timber on its properties because the timber is not cruised (a process to estimate timber volume to establish the value) until it is ready to be sold. According to DNR staff, to cruise all the timber would be cost prohibitive and DNR does not employ dedicated forestry staff.
We contacted other Southeastern states and found that while most of these states do cruise or inventory their timber, the primary reason is to manage the lands for wildlife habitats. Although some of these states employ forestry management staff, only one state had an estimated value of its timber available. In each state contacted, revenue from timber harvesting is used to support the agency’s program.