A number of programs have been undertaken for the conservation and improvement of South Carolina’s soils, forests, and wildlife resources. Conservation efforts, including the protection of critical land areas, are carried on by a number of federal agencies, state agencies such as the Heritage Trust program of the Department of Natural Resources, and private organizations such as the South Carolina Nature Conservancy.
Severe soil erosion in the past ruined large sections of formerly productive farmland in the upland regions of the Piedmont, and considerably reduced the productivity of many other areas of the state.
The principal soil conservation effort is directed toward covering the badly eroded lands with pasture grasses or trees to prevent further soil removal. Contour plowing, strip cropping, terracing, crop rotation, no-till farming, and other soil-conserving measures are also actively encouraged. Reforestation, supervised cutting and replanting, and fire protection are practiced to provide adequate timber supplies in the present and future. A state department of health and environmental control was established in 1970 to combat water, air, and solid waste pollution. In 2008 the state had 25 hazardous waste sites on a national priority list of sites for cleanup due to their severity or proximity to people. Between 1995 and 2000, the amount of toxic chemicals discharged into the environment decreased by 2 percent. Most other states recorded a greater reduction.
Red and yellow podzolic soils, or Ultisols, cover the inner, or northwestern, edge of the Atlantic Coastal Plain and most sections of the Piedmont. These soils are generally easy to farm, but they require heavy applications of fertilizer to maintain their productivity. Less fertile than other soils of this type are those found in the Sandhills.
Young, poorly developed soils, called Inceptisols, cover the Blue Ridge region. These soils can be fertile but vary in their suitability for agriculture. However, the land is generally too steep for cultivation, and so it is used mainly for pasture or is left as forest. The poorly drained section of the Atlantic Coastal Plain, along the coast, has mainly light-colored and generally infertile sandy soils. However, there are also extensive areas of peat, bog, marsh, and other ill-drained soils, which are productive when drained. "South Carolina" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia
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