Gov. Brian Kemp recently recognized three corporate forest landowners for their stewardship and land management practices benefiting wildlife across Georgia. CatchMark Timber Trust, Georgia Power and Weyerhaeuser are the agency’s 2021 Forestry for Wildlife partners.
Administered by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division, the Forestry for Wildlife Partnership is a voluntary program that has promoted sustainable forest and wildlife conservation in forestry practices for 25 years. Partner projects focus on making improvements that sync with Georgia’s Bobwhite Quail Initiative and State Wildlife Action Plan, two statewide strategies.
This year’s partners were recognized in a letter from Gov. Kemp and lauded by DNR Commissioner Mark Williams and leaders in the DNR Wildlife Resources Division. Williams noted that with more than 90 percent of Georgia lands privately owned, working with landowners to help wildlife is critical.
“As our nation's leading forestry state and the top state for doing business, Georgia's future is bright and importantly linked to the forestry industry's continued use of best practices that keep our forests and ecosystems healthy. In Georgia, even our businesses join with both individuals and the department to serve as conservationists for our natural resources. To say thank you, DNR is proud to join with Gov. Kemp to acknowledge these three leading partners as Forestry for Wildlife Partnership honorees."
The Wildlife Resources Division recognized Georgia Power, Weyerhaeuser and CatchMark Timber Trust as Forestry for Wildlife Partners for:
- Preparing wildlife conservation plans that detail natural resource inventories and outline management strategies that combine forest and wildlife aspects.
- Providing internal training opportunities for employees on how to blend forestland management with wildlife-friendly practices for multiple natural resource benefits.
- Incorporating wildlife management into land-use planning and timber management practices.
- Providing valuable data for Wildlife Resources Division research projects.
- Providing public recreational opportunities on partner forestlands.
- Participating in partnerships with conservation organizations.
- Managing riparian forests for wildlife use and water quality protection.
The abundance and natural quality of habitat are foundational for wildlife. Georgia has more than 24 million acres of forestland. Owners who have at least 10,000 acres can take part in Forestry for Wildlife.
The work of the 2021 partners has helped gopher tortoises—Georgia’s state reptile—rare bats, endangered red-cockaded woodpeckers, at-risk plants such as fringed campion and hairy rattleweed, wetlands crucial to protected reptiles and amphibians, and other high-priority habitats such as Coosa Valley prairies, home to endangered whorled sunflower, and longleaf pine savannas. The partnerships also provide public opportunities to enjoy the outdoors through hunting, fishing and wildlife viewing.
For information on recent and ongoing partner projects, see the annual report of DNR’s Wildlife Conservation Section (georgiawildlife.com/conservation/AnnualReport).
All conservation enhancement components and reporting procedures in the Forestry for Wildlife Partnership are compatible with Sustainable Forestry Initiative Inc., a voluntary approach in the forest industry to maintain high environmental standards in land management.
Forestry for Wildlife/At A Glance
Visit georgiawildlife.com/privatelandsprogram for information on the Forestry for Wildlife Partnership and other DNR Private Lands initiatives. The Wildlife Conservation Section’s annual report (georgiawildlife.com/conservation/AnnualReport) provides more details on partner projects.