Date of Award

August 2020

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Forestry and Environmental Conservation

Committee Member

Puskar N Khanal

Committee Member

Thomas J Straka

Committee Member

Patrick Hiesl


South Carolina is blessed with abundant natural resources that span from the southern edge of the Blue Ridge Mountains, across the Piedmont, and into the coastal plain that borders the Atlantic Ocean. These resources are known to hold tremendous value to the state but are often understudied, leaving little documentation to support the claim of their value. The purpose of this thesis is to identify South Carolina’s coastal natural resources, estimate the economic value of these coastal resources by individual habitat components, and to estimate the effect of timber tax on property inheritance in South Carolina. By doing so, these results will provide valuable information that can be used to influence planners, policy makers, and the general public on these key topics. In-depth geospatial analysis along with current literature was used to identify and measure South Carolina’s coastal habitats and the growing challenges that they face. To estimate these coastal habitats’ value, a value-transfer method was used to analyze the literature regarding prior economic valuations of these resources conducted in South Carolina and surrounding states that share similar habitat composition. This study provides estimates for ecosystem services such as storm buffering and flood protection, carbon sequestration, outdoor recreation, shoreline stabilization, and water quality enhancement. Taxes have a significant effect on the sale of timber at final harvest, specifically capital gains tax given timber’s appreciating nature. Using a stepped-up tax basis, a landowner can delay final harvesting and pass on standing timber to the property’s heirs, avoiding the steep capital gains taxation that is innate to timber growing. The results indicate that final harvest can be delayed between four and ten years given the site index of the stand and the discount rate assumed.



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