Gov. Brian Kemp recognized three corporate forest landowners Monday for their stewardship and land management practices benefiting wildlife across Georgia. Georgia Power, Weyerhaeuser and CatchMark Timber Trust are the agency’s 2022 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 at the state Capitol by Gov. Kemp and First Lady Marty Kemp and lauded by DNR Commissioner Mark Williams and DNR Wildlife Resources Division leaders. With more than 90 percent of Georgia lands privately owned, Williams said that working with private landowners to help wildlife is key.
“Keeping our state’s wildlife, wildlands and working forests healthy and thriving is critical for all Georgians, including the generations to come. Considering that Georgia is a leader in forestry and business, these Forestry for Wildlife partners exemplify how we can work together to conserve the state’s natural resources. We are proud to join the Governor and First Lady in honoring our 2022 partners.”
The Wildlife Resources Division recognized Weyerhaeuser, CatchMark Timber Trust and Georgia Power 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.
Abundant, healthy woodlands are essential for wildlife. Georgia has more than 24 million acres of forestland, and more than 22 million acres are privately owned. Landowners with at least 10,000 acres can take part in the Forestry for Wildlife Partnership.
The work of this year’s partners benefited wildlife on nearly 1 million acres. Those projects included restoring priority habitats such as longleaf pine savannas, protecting sensitive sites like north Georgia rock outcrops that shelter the state-rare green salamander, conducting timber work aimed at returning endangered red-cockaded woodpeckers to Sprewell Bluff Wildlife Management Area near Thomaston, and managing company woodlands to help conserve and increase populations of gopher tortoises, Georgia’s state reptile. Partners also provided 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.