Santee Experimental Forest

The Santee Experimental Forest provides a hydrologic laboratory, long-term studies, experimental facilities, diverse forest types, and demonstration areas that are designed to provide a basis for enhancing the management, restoration, and conservation of the South Atlantic Coastal Plain forested landscape.

Entrance to Santee Experimental Forest

Located in Berkley County, South Carolina, the Santee encompasses some of the oldest colonized lands in the United States. The land was originally granted to Thomas Colleton in 1683 by King Charles II and subsequently incorporated part of the early, large plantations in coastal South Carolina.

Much of the uplands was cleared for agriculture and used for naval stores production, and the bottomlands were used for rice and indigo cultivation. The area was logged heavily between 1897 and the late 1920s. In 1933, the land was acquired by the U.S. government, and the Francis Marion National Forest was formed.

The Santee Experimental Forest was established in 1937. The early research program addressed thinning and fire management in loblolly pine stands. Building on that base, it evolved to include silviculture, soil-site relationships, and forest hydrology.

Presently, the Santee encompasses 2,469 ha, containing all the major forest types in the lower coastal plain, three gauged watersheds, a hydroedaphytron facility, and laboratory and housing facilities.