William & Mary Environmental Law and Policy Review


This Article posits that corporate real estate development of coastal property can coexist with conservation strategies to preserve the ecological and cultural integrity of the barrier islands along the southeastern seaboard. Reformed corporate land use techniques that reflect prudent and sustainable master-planned communities may result in manageable natural and cultural resource preservation. The Introduction defines the historical, cultural, and ecological significance of the Sea Islands, an archipelago stretching from the Carolinas to Florida. Part I presents a series of corporate real estate redevelopment projects on the Sea Islands for analysis. Part II sets forth viable solutions for the implementation of sound environmental policies in conjunction with corporate development strategies to maximize both ecological and economic returns. The ecological supervision and government oversight of the fragile Sea Island ecosystem and cultural infrastructure are also reviewed in proposing innovative techniques for the historic preservation of traditional land and customs. The analysis includes the significant contributions of the Gullah and Geechee indigenous Sea Island populations in managing a supportive green economy based on sustainable practices. A range of corporate, private, and government interests that inhabit the unique Sea Island landscape are examined in developing best practices to curtail the vast land loss and natural resource depletion currently occurring on the Sea Islands. Corporate accountability and the successful use of land trusts are advanced as ways to preserve the shrinking Gullah and Geechee communities of the Sea Islands. This Article provides a blueprint for overcoming the significant barriers to corporate collaboration with local communities and naturalists in defining cultural space and to ensure public enjoyment of precious natural resources.