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Appalachian mountainsWithout a question, North Carolina is one of the most beautiful states in the country. We have the highest peaks east of the Mississippi River and beautiful hundreds of miles of pristine shoreline. With the Piedmont and foothills in the middle of the state, residents enjoy beautiful rolling hills.&

North Carolina has been one of the fastest-growing states in the US for decades. Since the pandemic, we have welcomed new residents even more quickly. One of the many reasons people move here is for the availability of reasonably priced land.

In order to keep our state beautiful and safe, there are, of course, land-use regulations that ensure our forests, mountains, rivers, and natural resources are protected. Here’s what property owners in North Carolina need to know about land use.

Land Use Facts in North Carolina

According to the US EPA, “‘Land use’ is the term used to describe the human use of land. It represents the economic and cultural activities (e.g., agricultural, residential, industrial, mining, and recreational uses) that are practiced at a given place.”

Land use changes occur on a regular basis and at various scales, with specific and cumulative consequences on air and water quality, watershed function, generation of waste, animal habitat extent and quality, climate, and human health.

Because of their potential implications on the environment and human health, the EPA is cautious about certain land use practices. Two major areas of concern are land development and agricultural uses, both of which have a wide range of potential consequences.

What Are Some of the Ways North Carolinians Use Their Land?

Development Land Use

North Carolina is always growing, so there are many who use their land for residential and commercial development. These uses can indeed impact the environment, so it is important to go through the proper steps to ensure the best case scenarios for development land use.

Agricultural Land Use

Many people in western North Carolina, the foothills, and the piedmont for agricultural purposes.

The sorts of crops cultivated, cultivation practices, and different irrigation methods can limit the quantity of water for other applications, all of which can alter the quality of water and watersheds.

By diminishing stream bank vegetation and raising water temperatures, depositing sediments, and impacting nutrient levels, livestock feeding in riparian areas can alter ecosystems and landscapes.

The quality of water can also be harmed by pesticides, fertilizers, and nutrients from animal waste runoff.

Agricultural land usage may also result in the loss of native habitats, as well as increased wind erosion and dust, exposing individuals to particulate matter and toxins.

Invasive species spread can be accelerated or exacerbated by certain land usage. Overgrazing, land conversion, fertilization, and the use of agricultural pesticides can promote the spread of invasive species in agricultural land. These plants have the potential to disrupt fish and wildlife habitats, reduce biodiversity, and pose health concerns to cattle and humans.

Invasive species can degrade water quality and restrict water availability for native fish and animal species on agricultural grounds.

Church and Church Forestry Management in North Carolina

One of the best steps you can take to ensure you are making the best use of your land is by getting help from seasoned forestry management experts. The team at Church & Church is here to help. We have the expertise to utilize timber harvesting to eradicate invasive species and keep them from becoming an issue on your property.

Contact Church & Church for more information about land use and forestry management in Wilkes County and the foothills.