Partnership plays key role in acquiring land for Clemson teaching, research


When you look at a forest, you may not be able to see the vast network of roots underground that keep the trees healthy and anchored. Similar to how those roots are essential for a forest’s survival, a strong partnership between Clemson University, the Naturaland Trust, and the South Carolina Conservation Bank played a key role in the Board of Trustees’ recent approval to acquire of an 87-acre tract of land that will have a long-lasting impact to the University’s research and teaching mission.

The tract is adjacent to one of the most ecologically sensitive areas of the Clemson Experimental Forest (CEF), known as the George Aull Natural Area. The property, used regularly for teaching and research, is the best remnant of Piedmont old-growth forest in the Upstate of South Carolina and boasts overstory trees that are more than 200 years old. With nearby development threatening drastic changes in the ecosystem, the University worked with the Naturaland Trust and the South Carolina Conservation Bank to acquire and protect the land.

The Naturaland Trust assisted with the negotiation to secure the property from the current owner through a charitable bargain and will transfer the property to the University pending all necessary approvals from the state. The Naturaland Trust worked closely with the University and the South Carolina Conservation Bank to create an application and seek funding to assist with the transaction, resulting in a financial grant to cover the cash aspect of the transaction.