Georgia’s forests are not here by accident. Ninety-one percent of Georgia’s forests, which cover two-thirds of the land area of the state, are privately owned. The majority of that land is owned by tens of thousands of private, non-industrial landowners whose stewardship serves to clean the state’s water and air while providing valuable wildlife habitat and outdoor recreation. For more than a century, these working forests have turned the state’s most plentiful, renewable, natural resource – trees – into jobs and tax dollars, while providing direct environmental benefits to Georgia citizens.
Georgia’s private forest landowners must have sufficient economic incentive to harvest and sell trees if they are going to actively manage this precious natural resource that provides so many benefits to Georgia’s citizens. Forest landowners and forest industries continue to face pressure from growing global competition, local property taxes and sprawling urban and suburban development. Georgia’s forests have the capacity to meet increased demands for goods and services now and in the future. But the correct mix of stewardship, market opportunities and commitment to public policy must come together to support forest landowners, organizations and communities that hold these forests in trust for future generations.
As the leading advocate for Georgia’s forestry community, the Georgia Forestry Association works to promote the value of Georgia’s working forests and forest industries while educating business, environmental and political leaders about responsible forest management practices and landowner rights.