This announcement from the US Department of Agriculture brings the Sentinel Landscapes Partnership into national focus:

But did you know that North Carolina has been part of this nationwide effort since its beginning?

The North Carolina Partnership for Sentinel Landscapes is a pilot program to determine how collaboration and coordination between farmers, conservationists, and military installations can provide mutual benefits to protect the state’s two largest economic sectors – Agriculture and Defense.

The Partnership strives to solve North Carolina’s land use challenges in ways that provide mutual and multiple benefits to all partners, especially the resource landowners of North Carolina.  This will be achieved through identifying opportunities for mutual gain, effectively addressing differences among the partners, and identifying solutions to complex problems.

The project is administered by NC State University and is focused on maintaining farmland, working forests, conservation lands, and the training capability and readiness of the state’s six major military installations.  North Carolina has 27 million acres of forest and farmland (out of its total land area of 31.2 million acres) and almost 90% of it is privately owned.  These lands also contain vast acreages of the state’s natural resources.

This pilot project seeks to demonstrate how a multi-faceted approach can link unique agencies and organizations and produce benefits at a larger and more economical scale.  From a broader perspective, it can provide an organizing framework for confronting the complex and often conflicting issues of future population growth, economic development, and land resource protection, issues that will continue to challenge the United States.  

The project has been initially funded by Marine Corps Installations East (MCIEAST), with leverage from state agencies and other sources, including the North Carolina Farm Bureau, Soil and Water Conservation Districts, North Carolina Forestry Association, the Environmental Defense Fund, the state’s Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services and Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

Stay tuned for future posts!