Natural Living & Education Center in Asheville NC

Blue Ridge Mountains

Conservation Allows for a Breath of Fresh Air

This week Evan discusses some of what he has discovered about the easement and the process of conservation. Effective environmental stewardship presents many challenges and overcoming these allows the benefits of natural ecosystem services to be felt far and wide.

Greetings everyone!


Aesthetic beauty offered by the conservation easement.

The second week of my project is geared towards research and exploring some of the many routes available to me when it comes to valuing land and understanding the natural systems that add to that value. Aside from carbon sequestration, the 41 acres of urban forest located at OM Sanctuary offer aesthetic beauty, a habitat for a variety of species and a buffer against runoff and flooding. This becomes even more important when you consider the easement’s proximity to the French Broad, a river that has been flowing since the time of Pangea and whose watershed supplies drinking water to over 1 million people. Ensuring future generations are able to appreciate these same benefits requires diligence and planning.


English Ivy, one of the NNIS present in the conservation easement.

One of the responsibilities of maintaining an easement is the removal of non-native invasive species (NNIS) and taking measures to ensure that native flora are able to flourish in their place. This is much easier said than done and one of the most effective methods involves arranging a controlled burn of the acreage with the local fire department. Provided by the North Carolina Forest Service in August of this year, The Forest Stewardship Plan advocates for two to three of these burns over the next decade. After speaking with Jonathan and Shelli, I am happy to say that the first of these burns is in the works and will be happening in the Spring of 2017!

Calculating how the removal of these NNIS will affect the carbon footprint of the OM Sanctuary is just one of the many questions I plan to take into account during the research phase of my project.

Stay tuned next week as I meet some fascinating individuals on the forefront of sustainability and conservation here in North Carolina!

Please feel free to email me with any questions or comments you may have concerning the project or my research at [email protected]

Take care,


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