The Conservation program focuses on stewardship of the Ichauway landbase, serves as a technical information resource for the Center, and is an example of wise resource management in the region. The Conservation staff includes land managers, biologists, forestry, wildlife, and agricultural specialists, foremen, workmen and technicians. In addition, a conservation management apprenticeship program was implemented in 2001, in conjunction with the education program, to provide an internship opportunity for individuals early in their careers to gain practical, hands-on land management experience.
The mission of the conservation program is to provide sound, long-term, and sustainable stewardship of the diverse Ichauway landbase. Through monitoring and maintenance of the longleaf ecosystem represented at Ichauway, with its associated biodiversity and ecological functions, the site serves as an exemplary model for conservation and multiple-use resource management throughout the region and beyond. In partnership with the research and education programs of the Center – as well as cooperating resource managers, landowners, and conservation organizations – the Conservation program will influence land stewardship by providing a model of adaptive management that will identify and solve natural resource problems.
Utilizing information collected through monitoring, research, and management demonstrations, the conservation program effectively implements an adaptive management approach for the natural resources on Ichauway. Other valuable information garnered from visitors, workshops, publications, and seminars is also utilized in the management of Ichauway. Management guidelines for Ichauway are defined in the Conservation and Land Management plan and provide for the long-term stewardship of the site while enhancing community and species diversity and maintaining the high standards of Ichauway's traditional land ethic. For conservation, research, and education purposes Ichauway is divided into two overlapping zones: conservation and multiple-use. The conservation zone is managed to enhance the natural ecosystems and associated elements of biological diversity over time and to restore, to the extent possible, the structure and function of the natural landscape so that ecosystem processes have priority over human uses. The multiple-use zone is managed to maintain and enhance harmonious, inter-related patterns of land use and sustainable productivity of wildlife and forest resources. Although guided by the differing broad objectives, the management of the two zones is quite similar in application.
Support and partnership with the research and education programs facilitates sound monitoring and science, and enhances the transfer of new approaches and information to conservation and natural resource management communities. The conservation program serves as a technical resource for the research and education programs, providing management support and expertise for research projects and demonstrations.