News Release

Santee Experimental Forest Celebrates 75-Year Anniversary

April 12, 2012

Charleston, SC — Today the Santee Experimental Forest (the Santee), outside of Charleston, SC, celebrated 75 years of research on the restoration and sustainable management of coastal plain forests. The Santee is the site of continuous research since 1937. The 6,100-acre forest research site is one of 80 experimental forests distributed across the country, and is the only experimental forest in the Atlantic Coastal Plain of the southeastern United States. 

Today’s celebration highlighted the important contributions of Santee-based research to the management of pine and hardwood forests, prescribed fire, watershed management, wetland ecology, and wildlife management.  Joining the 150 partners, university dignitaries, and policy makers for the Santee anniversary celebration was Dr. James B. Edwards, former Governor of South Carolina and Secretary of the U.S. Department of Energy.

The Santee, located north of Charleston on the Francis Marion National Forest, is part of the USDA Forest Service’s Southern Research Station (SRS), which is headquartered in Asheville, NC. The experimental forest includes all the major forest types of the southeastern Atlantic Coastal Plain, providing excellent opportunities to conduct research on forest management and soils and water quality and quantity research. Its four watersheds deliver critical information about stream flow, groundwater level, and precipitation in one of the largest undeveloped tracts in the region. The proximity of the Santee to the ocean and to a major expanding urban area makes it unique among experimental forests as a site where scientists can study sea level rise and continued water quality for Berkeley county residents and beyond.

“The Santee and its counterparts in other states address natural resource issues facing the country, including changing weather patterns, the role of forest in carbon cycling, and the development of forest management practices to provide biomass for energy and ensure fresh water resources,” Rob Doudrick, SRS Director, said.  “Today was a great day to celebrate all that we have learned and will continue to learn from the Santee Experimental Forest.”

Experimental forests like the Santee make it possible for the USDA Forest Service to understand the impacts of urbanization, changing and extreme weather patterns, and invasive species for example have on forests, watersheds, and wildlife habitat over time. Long-term research projects are critical since most changes on the landscape occur over a period of time and the relative impacts are not readily understood immediately.

Learn more about the history and research conducted on the Santee Experimental Forest at