Forests of the Domain

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Reclamation Projects

The Domain of the University of the South has been actively managed for its natural resources for many years. These resources include coal, timber, pasture, farmland, stone, and water to name a few. The management of these resources has created many benefits for Sewanee and the surrounding communities, but have also created disturbances to the natural environment.

Coal was mined on the Domain from the 1870's through the 1920's. Evidence of the old coal mines is still apparent, but the long period of time since abandonment has allowed most of these areas to revegetate and recover naturally. Timber has been harvested throughout the history of the University, and open grazing and burning were common in the forests for many years. The University Farm and dairy was in operation from 18__-19__. Following the closure of the University Farm and its reforestation and conversion to recreational use, many exotic species were either introduced or inadvertently became established. The native sandstone on the Domain was quarried for use in the construction of most academic buildings and many houses and businesses in the community. Many old quarries can still be found today, but are covered with young forest. Recent quarries were opened along Armfield Bluff to provide stone for the construction of the new dining hall. Extensive restoration work was conducted in these areas to vegetate the site and prevent erosion. The water supply for the Sewanee community is supplied by a series of lakes also located on the Domain. The large reservoirs that provide a reliable water supply required the excavation of large amounts of soil for construction of the earthen dams. The borrow pits which remain have been denuded for many years and past reclamation efforts have only been partially successful.