Sustainable Environment

A sustainable future will require policies that protect environmental health, increase economic prosperity, and enhance quality of life.

william bowerman holding aneagleA calling of eagles

The sight of an eagle soaring in the wild is an emotion-stirring experience. Eagles are legendary symbols of freedom, independence and strength. Wildlife toxicologist Dr. William Bowerman IV and his research team have also found that eagle behavior can document the effects of climate change. In parts of Michigan, where Dr. Bowerman has been conducting research on eagles for over two decades, he has found that eagles are nesting six weeks earlier than compared to 1965 data. Dr. Bowerman’s graduate students are working worldwide on issues critical to wildlife survival, including the impact of the wild bird trade in South Africa and the effect of gold mining on birds of prey in the Amazon Rain Forest.

black cowResearch finds grass-fed beef can be healthier for consumers and more sustainable for farmers

Dr. Susan Duckett, the Ernest J. Corley Jr. Trustees Endowed Chair in Animal and Veterinary Science, and Dr. John Andrae of the Department of Entomology, Soils and Plant Sciences have found that grass-fed beef has a higher nutritional value than its grain-fed counterpart. Grass-fed beef has 40% less fat and higher concentrations of omega-3, vitamin E, beta carotene and conjugated linoleic acid, a cancer-fighting compound than grain-fed cattle. These scientists are also helping to develop economically viable and environmentally sound practices to enhance the efficiency, profitability and sustainability of grassland-based beef production in the Southeast where forage crops can be raised year round.

aerial photo of a plantenergy  +  environment

The environmental costs of producing energy are often paid with contaminated air and water and a loss of biodiversity. Dr. John Rodgers of the Department of Forestry and Natural Resources and Dr. James Castle of the Department of Environmental Engineering and Earth Sciences have developed constructed wetland systems (CWTS) to clean contaminated water from gasoline storage, oil and gas refining, and coal-fired power plants. Their work, funded by the Department of Energy and others, uses biogeochemical treatment processes applied to specific water characteristics. These cost-effective and energy-efficient systems produce clean water that can be used for drinking, irrigation, manufacturing and energy production.

man in a lab looking at pitri dichesCU-ENTOX

Sometimes environmental problems can’t be seen. Scientists at the Clemson Institute for Environmental Toxicology (CU-ENTOX)are Nature’s detectives who uncover problems and develop solutions to fix them. CU-ENTOX is an interdisciplinary group of Clemson scientists who conduct research and train graduate students to determine the fate, effects and risks of toxicants on the environment, wildlife, and human health. Dr. Steve Klaine, Interim Director of CU-ENTOX recently received an $800,000 research award to study the effects of nanoparticles on the ecosystem.

peach orchard in bloomSustainable agriculture

Clemson’s Sustainable Agriculture Program works to create local, regional, national and international models of farming that are ecologically sound, economically viable and socially responsible. The Student Organic Farm Project occupies nearly 15 acres of the Calhoun Field Laboratory, an area dedicated for agricultural research, teaching and public outreach. The Organic Farm operates a summer Farmer’s Market and a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program.

Agriculture engineers are researching precision agriculture technology to increase productivity and profitability of crops while minimizing environmental impacts. Professors in the Department of Environmental Horticulture and the Department of Entomology, Soils & Plant Sciences prepare students to manage and enhance agricultural and  horticultural systems for the environmental and economic sustainability of biological resources.

drew lanhamThe Color of the land

Dr. Joseph Drew Lanham, professor in the Department of Forestry and Natural Resources and recipient of the 2008 Audubon/Toyota “TogetherGreen” fellowship, is conducting research that will define the conservation ethic and the land legacy that has helped sustain generations of rural African-American landowners.

intelligent River logo
Clemson University has been recognized as a Center of Excellence for Watershed Management by the Environmental Protection Agency. It is the first Center in the nation to use a wireless network of remote sensors and probes to monitor, collect and analyze a watershed. The project is called the Intelligent River™ and it is changing the science of river management. Collected data will be able to guide policy decisions to balance economic development needs with environmental health. Dr. Gene Eidson, director of the Center and the ecology focus area of the Clemson University Restoration Institute heads the project. The Intelligent River™ is a collaboration with the Restoration Institute, the US Geological Survey, the US Army Corps of Engineers and the Southeast Natural Sciences Academy. Visit the Center for Watershed Excellence website >>

Southeast climate consortium

Clemson University has recently become a member of the Southeast Climate Consortium (SECC)—an organization at the forefront of research to forecast climate variability and predict the consequences on agriculture, forestry and water resources. Dr. Scott Templeton, professor in the Department of Applied Economics and Statistics directs Clemson’s participation in the Consortium.

frog in a persons handSpringing to life

Clemson University is situated next to one of the most biodiverse regions in the world—the foothills, slopes and peaks of the Great Smoky Mountains. Amphibians play a critical role in maintaining this biodiversity, yet little is known about their life cycle and how to protect them. Vernal pools are where amphibians seek protection from fish and other predators who feed on their eggs. Later in their life cycle, vernal pools provide an oasis during periods of migration. Drs. Robert Baldwin and Bryan Brown of the Department of Forestry and Natural Resources are researching the relationship between amphibians and vernal pools using radio-tracking devices. The project is funded by the Environmental Protection Agency.