South Carolina forest lands are a source of scenic beauty, pure water, wildlife habitat, recreation, and timber. To help protect these qualities, Best Management Practices (BMPs) have been developed. BMPs are recommended forestry practices that help minimize theimpact on water quality, reduce soil erosion, and protect streamside areas.
BMPs are non-regulatory program with extensive monitoring, education, and inspection efforts to protect water quality. Technical assistance is available to private landowners, loggers, and industry to implement BMPs, training and education programs are offered on a regular basis, and compliance monitoring of timber harvesting and site preparation operations are ongoing. The SC Forestry Commission uses airplanes to spot potential water quality problems, and industry may refuse to accept wood if BMPs are not followed. In addition, the South Carolina Water Pollution Control Act and other laws apply if water quality is impaired.
Recent monitoring reveals that statewide BMP compliance in South Carolina is 92%. Use and knowledge of BMPs has gone up every year since the beginning of the program in 1976.
Some highlights from SC BMPs for Forestry:
Streamside Management Zones
Streams need special protection, and Streamside Management Zones (SMZs) filter out pollutants and provide benefits to wildlife.
Harvesting operations should be carefully planned and executed with the intent of protecting the site.
Road Building BMPs
Roads and trails are necessary to provide access for forest management, timber harvesting, protection, and recreational use.
Site Preparation and Reforestation
Site preparation is necessary on some sites to assure survival and growth of seedlings.