The Joseph W. Jones Ecological Research Center at Ichauway seeks to understand, to demonstrate, and to promote excellence in natural resource management and conservation on the landscape of the southeastern coastal plain of the United States.
The Jones Center was founded on a long-standing ethic of conserving land and water resources. Ichauway is maintained as the tangible expression of this natural resource management philosophy. Central to this philosophy is the conviction that management and research inform each other and are partners in their contribution to knowledge. One of the Center's most important products is people who combine a rigorous understanding of ecological principles with proficiency in natural resource management.
To understand the natural systems of the southeastern coastal plain, the Center assembles information from respected practitioners and the scientific literature and conducts targeted research to expand the knowledge of the field. Through a rigorous and creative research program the Center aspires to improve management and stewardship of resources of the southeastern coastal plain and also to contribute to natural resource science at the national and international levels.
To demonstrate excellence in natural resource management, the Center manages Ichauway to protect and enhance the diversity of natural communities and their component species. The practical and economic aspects of proper stewardship are fundamental considerations of this work.
To promote excellence in natural resource management and conservation, the Center develops and conducts education and outreach programs for undergraduate and graduate students, interns, land owners and managers. The Center serves as a science-based resource for public officials, policy makers and the public.
At the Joseph W. Jones Ecological Research Center, two themes integrate the research, education, and conservation staff and programs. The first is the ecology and management of the longleaf pine ecosystem and its wildlife. The second is aquatic ecology and water resources. Within these broad topics, staff members use basic and applied science to address the real-world information needs of natural resource professionals, landowners, and policy-makers. The location of both researchers and land managers on the Ichauway site affords staff members a unique perspective on the information needs of natural resource management. The research and science-based education products of the Jones Center are designed to impact regional conservation and natural resource policies, activities of landowner/ manager constituents, and actions of organizational partners such as nonprofits, and state and federal agencies.
Ichauway is divided into two management zones that accommodate the diverse conservation, research, and education goals of the organization. The multiple-use zone conserves biological diversity while maintaining sustainable practices and patterns of land use for wildlife and forest management. The conservation zone is managed to conserve the natural ecosystems and associated elements of biological diversity and, over time, to restore the structure and function of the natural landscape.
This management model protects native ecosystems and their rare plants and animals while preserving the rich historic and cultural landscapes from the Woodruff era. As a result of sound land management practices, the biological diversity and natural integrity of the landscape have remained intact, making Ichauway a research and conservation site of national and international significance.