The land base is a defining feature of Sewanee and represents an integral and strategic part of the educational mission of the University. We seek to promote sustainable land stewardship through strategies of adaptive management that promote and protect ecological values, including biodiversity and ecosystem services and the protection of cultural heritage, all within the context of a working educational landscape.

Marbled salamander.

We are committed to land management that allows us to optimize the wide diversity of educational opportunities and benefits associated with the Domain, while sustaining the integrity of the ecological landscape and being proper stewards of the cultural landscape. In addition, a critical component to the successful educational use of the Domain is our commitment to ensuring its safe use and access.‌

‌Our biggest challenge in managing land is to accomplish these often conflicting education-related goals while sustaining the integrity of the ecological landscape and being proper stewards of the cultural landscape. We are committed to land management that allows us to optimize the wide diversity of educational opportunities and benefits associated with the Domain. In addition, a critical component to the successful educational use of the Domain is our commitment to ensuring its safe use and access.‌

The land associated with Sewanee: the University of the South consists of an academic campus (382 acres) with

Lake Cheston.

adjacent commercial and residential areas (783 acres) that are embedded within and surrounded by diverse natural lands (11,838 acres), located at the southern end of the Cumberland Plateau which extends down through Kentucky into Tennessee and Alabama. The term “Domain” is used interchangeably to describe both the entire 13,000 acres and the 11,800 acre natural land matrix (also referred to as the “Greater Domain”). What makes the landscape of the Domain such a unique educational asset for the study of the environment is the continuum that exists with ‌the human-built environment extending into this natural environment context.

‌The size and complexity of land use on the Domain provides a unique opportunity to live and study where we wrestle with many of the environmental challenges that all communities face. Land-use planning, drinking water procurement, wastewater processing, food production, natural resource extraction, and biodiversity protection are all practiced on the Domain in microcosm. This juxtaposition of land use is leveraged to create innovative learning opportunities for all students. ‌‌

Forest Management

The Domain management is guided by a comprehensive management plan completed in 2019, in partnership with The Nature Conservancy and the Forest Stewards Guild.   All activities are certified sustainable through the Forest Stewardship Council, the gold standard in ecological forestry.  Students take part in both the planning and implementation of all aspects of management  including:  harvest planning and inventory, prescribed fire, and exotic species management.  Students participate in our management implemented to improve wildlife habitats, protect fragile species and ecosystems, and set an example of exemplary forest management in the region.

Deer Hunting

The University of the South opens portions of the Domain to hunting every year. The hunt began in 2000, in response to community concern over increasing deer population numbers and the impacts on the community and forest understory.