Clemson Experimental Forest (CEF)surrounds the town of Clemson and Clemson University from Highway 76 west to Lawrence Bridge Road to Forest Entrance on right. Fant's Grove Section is south on 76 to Woodburn Road (on point).
The 17,356 acre site is 698 feet at its lowest elevation and 1,099 at its highest. CFE is largely representative of the Piedmont Physiographic Province. It is characterized by a rolling topography with a southeasterly decline in elevation. CEF's northern parcel resides within the Lower Foothills of the Piedmont Foothills region with clayey soils that are moderately deep to thin and wel-drained. The southern portion of CEF is located in the Interior Plateau of the Midlands Plateau Region and the soils are usually relatively thin and clayey. Pine species include loblolly, shortleaf and Virginia. Hardwood species include various oaks, sweetgum, tulip poplar, holly, persimmon, sourwood and blackgum. The site is managed for multiple uses including timber, wildlife, and recreation by the manager, S.K.Cox. Many miles of shoreline along Lake Hartwell make this site extremely attractive to developers.
The mean annual temperature is 16 degrees C. and the mean annual precipitation is 134 cm.
The CEF has great economic potential because of its location near Lake Hartwell and the value of lakefront property. These issues were brought to the forefront recently and the Clemson Universiry administration assured the public that NO development would occur. The area holds great value to the surrounding communities as treasured greenspace.

Ornithological Summary

Clemson Experimental Forest is noted for its important bird research (IBRA). Numerous field studies have been conducted, with long-term monitoring and a 20+ year Christmas Bird Count history. CEF is also a MAPS station. The WatchListed species Brown-headed nuthatch and Prairie Warbler nest here.
Publications used for data are: Lanham, J.D. 1997. Attribures of Avian Communities in Early-successional Clearcut Habaitats in the Mountains and Upper Piedmont of SC and Zebehazy, L. 2002. Avian and Arthropod Responses to Fuel Reduction Treatments in the Upper Piedmont of SC.

Conservation Issues

The Southern pine beetle has impaced the CEF heavily. Forestsry operations have been implemented to mitigate damage from this infestations. Invasive plant species such as Chinese Privet are common. Kudzu occurs sporadically. Overuse by mountain bikers and horseback riders are a serious threat. Water pollution is a potential issue with heavy use and past site history. PCBs are found in fish.
Southern Pine Beetle infestation spots were isolated and harvested. An experimental prescribed fire program has helped to remove excess trees and fuels that could be fire hazards. CEF management monitors the forest for overuse and damage to roads, trails, etc.


Clemson Experimental Forest is a part of the Clemson University campus and is owned by the state of SC.


The northern parcel of CEF lies mainly on clayey soils that are moderately deep to thin and well-drained. The parcel is bisected by several second order streams, several beaver impoundments. Dominant canopy species include loblolly pine with some shortleaf and Virginia pine interspersed. Hardwoods include oaks, tulip poplar, hickories, sweetgum. Less prevalent are dogwood, sourwood, blackgum and beech. The wouthern parcel lies on thinner, clayey soils. Large streams and creeks bisect the property. Lake Hartwell surrounds much of the Southern CEF. Tree species composition is similar to the northern parcel. The mean annual temperature is 16 degrees C. and the mean annual precipitation is 134 cm.
Three State Champion Trees are found in CEF: Chinkapin Oak, Rusty Blackhaw and White Basswood.
The Swamp Darter has recently expanded its range into the CEF.

Land Use

Land uses are primarily Forestry, Recreation and Wildlife Conservation. Secondary land use, hunting, is restricted to bow-hunting of turkey in the northern parcel and draw-hunting of turkey in the southern section. Recreatioin includes mountain biking, horseback riding and hiking.

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