Last summer was a busy one for Furman biology professor John Quinn and senior Emma Cook, a biology and sustainability science major. They along with other Furman undergraduates conducted research on selected Upstate Forever conservation lands to understand how bird species are responding to land use change across the region. Canvassing 57 forest patches across six Upstate counties, the team collected data for easement properties, protected lands (state parks and heritage preserves) and unprotected patches. Their findings show that easements, which protect land for future generations, are acting as an effective conservation tool in Upstate South Carolina. Upstate Forever highlights the research, which was presented last August at the Ecological Society of America (ESA) meeting. The full study will be published in the coming year.
This latest round of research builds on the Critical Lands mapping project that Upstate Forever conducted in 2016 showing that Upstate Forever easements had on average higher quality forest habitat than other forest patches in the Upstate.