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TN Greenbelt Tax Law and its implications for protecting biodiversity on the Cumberland Plateau

Working with colleagues in the Departments of Economics and Political Science at Sewanee, we examined the use of tax incentives as a means for conserving biodiversity in the privately owned landscape of the South.  As part of this work, we used GIS and remote sensing technology to examine forest cover within tax parcels at the county level.  The work was funded by the Associated Colleges of the South and students from all over the southeast came to Sewanee to take part in our GIS bootcamp.  This study represented the first research use of GIS at Sewanee and for the south Cumberland Plateau region and our collaboration served as the genesis for the creation of the Landscape Anlysis Lab (LAL).   



  • Williams, E.D., R. Gottfried, C.D. Brockett, and J.P. Evans. 2003. An integrated analysis of the effectiveness of Tennessee’s Forest Greenbelt Program. Landscape and Urban Planning 69:287-297.

  • Brockett, C.D., R.R. Gottfried, and J.P. Evans. 2003. State tax incentives to promote forest preservation on private lands:  an evaluation of equity and effectiveness impacts. Politics and Policy 31:252-281.

With its establishment in 1999, the LAL was the first interdisciplinary/ interdepartmental environmental program to be launched at Sewanee and its faculty served as the thinktank for the eventual formation of Sewanee's Environmental Studies Program.  By 2010,  when the Plateau landuse research had been completed, the LAL transitioned into being a GIS teaching faculty to support primarily Environmental Studies at Sewanee. 

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