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Forester (Research) Position

Southern Research Station
Center for Watershed Science
Santee Experimental Forest
3734 Hwy 402
Cordesville, SC 29434
Job Field:
Job Type:
Full Time
South Carolina
Location Detail:
Job Description:

This position supports the research mission of the SEF, focusing on the recently established longleaf pine restoration experiment, the tidal freshwater forested wetland catena, and the longterm forest monitoring studies. The research focuses on forest carbon cycling, linkages of hydrologic and biogeochemical processes, forested wetland ecology and management. The work involves field activities, data management and analyses, and reporting. The principal field activities include forest measurements to assess changes in forest structure and composition, soil measurements and sampling to assess changes in soil conditions and properties, and participating in field sampling campaigns for greenhouse gas emission studies. Data management and analyses are a principal focus for the position, with data sets derived from long-term monitoring facilities, studies, and literature or public data bases. The position is part of an interdisciplanry research program developing publications, data publications, web content and presentations. Other duties include: Obtain geo-reference points, conduct elevation surveys, prepare maps using ArcGIS, prepare geospatial files for modeling applications. Occasionally assist with laboratory studies. Synthesize data and literature; prepare data for publications and presentation.


The Santee Experimental Forest (SEF) is a 6,500 acre tract within the Francis Marion National Forest (FMNF), which is one of the most biologically and ecologically diverse forested landscapes in the Southeast. The FMNF boundary is formed by the Santee River to the north, the Intracoastal Waterway to the south-southeast, and Lake Moultrie and Cooper River to the west. Within the FMNF boundary, federally owned tracts are distributed in a mosaic of private, county and municipal ownerships. However, federal lands are generally consolidated in the interior. The FMNF is subjected to significant urbanization issues, with numerous rapidly growing urban communities found within and adjacent to the proclamation boundary. As with most national forest land, living adjacent to the FMNF is highly desirable to the public and creates significant pressure on the Forest Service’s ability to appropriately manage natural resources. Urban sprawl, couples with stringent smoke management guidelines and liability laws presents serious challenges to maintaining natural ecosystem functions via prescribed burning on the forest. The FMNF is comprised of several landforms, ranging from swamps, floodplains, stream terraces, side slopes, and xeric ridges. The Forest contains over 30 different natural communities ranging from dry longleaf pine/Turkey Oak woodland to clay-based Carolina bay wetlands. To date, over 1,600 species of plants have been documented on the forest, which include 32 species of orchids, 22 species of ferns, and 12 species of carnivorous plants. The Forest contributes to surface water of the Santee, Cooper, and Wando rivers, as well as a few small intertidal drainages. There are several groundwater aquifers under the forest and portions of the forest serve as aquifer recharge areas. There are approximately 280 miles of perennial streams and 150,000 acres of palustrine, riverine, lacustrine, and estuarine wetlands on the FMNF. The FMNF is situated between two major metropolitan areas: Myrtle Beach (30 miles to the north) and historic Charleston (30 miles to the south). This part of coastal South Carolina is a popular tourist destination well known for its freshwater and saltwater recreation, golf/tennis, beautiful coastal scenery and historical landmarks dating back to colonial America. The climate is hot and humid in the summer and mild in the winter. The Charleston metropolitan area has a population of approximately 734,000 (2022), which includes Charleston (26 miles), North Charleston (20 miles) and the town of Mount Pleasant (23 miles). Other municipalities include Moncks Corner (18 miles), Goose Creek (36 miles), Summerville (28 miles) and McClellanville (25 miles). Post-secondary education is available at the following locations: 1) College of Charleston 2) Trident Technical College in North Charleston 3) Horry Georgetown Tech in Georgetown 4) Citadel in Charleston. 5) Charleston Southern Air transportation is available at the Charleston International Airport. There is an Amtrak station in North Charleston. South Carolina has an income tax, a t7% state sales tax and varied local sales taxes. Housing prices are variable depending on location, but, are significantly higher in Charleston County than Berkeley and Georgetown counties where most of the Francis Marion employees live. Prices for lakefront or oceanfront property/housing are considerably higher than for off-water property, due to high demand and limited availability in some areas. Rentals can be difficult to obtain in some areas and prices vary by location.


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