Forestry for Wildlife Partnership
The Forestry for Wildlife Partnership program, or FWP, conserves wildlife habitat and provides the public with recreational access on wildlife management areas for hunting, fishing, wildlife viewing, hiking and camping. FWP invites corporate forest landowners to participate in this voluntary, flexible, non-competitive and participant-driven conservation partnership that:
In February 1996, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources' Wildlife Resources Division, with assistance from several other conservation organizations, joined hands with corporate forest landowners throughout Georgia and developed the FWP. This comprehensive wildlife management program aims to help coordinate the restoration and maintenance of many fundamental characteristics of natural ecosystems throughout lands that are managed predominantly for silvocultural (forest agricultural) purposes.
The abundance and diversity of wildlife rests largely in the hands of landowners, who own 93 percent of our landscape. Georgia's human population has increased steadily for decades, growing by 9.7 percent from 2000 to 2010. The population reached an estimated 9.8 million in 2011. As of 2010, Georgia averaged 168 people per square mile. This rapid population growth and expansion is resulting in substantial wildlife habitat loss and degradation, creating a need for landscape-level planning to ensure that Georgia's wildlife remain healthy for future generations to enjoy.
Corporations participating in FWP are among the largest landowners in Georgia and have the potential to impact wildlife habitat on a landscape level. This public/private partnership program provides opportunities to enhance wildlife conservation practices on these lands and benefit companies with public recognition for current and future wildlife conservation achievements.
Participating companies are evaluated based on their involvement and forethought regarding wildlife conservation planning, education and outreach, management practices, sensitive sites/special concerns, recreation, and partnerships. Companies that achieve a certain level of wildlife stewardship on their lands are recognized by the state as a well-deserving partner. Companies honored as partners for 2011 were Plum Creek, Georgia Power and Wells Timberland.
The hope is that FWP and related comprehensive conservation programs achieve long-term sustainability of natural resources in Georgia. This will only be possible with continued partnership efforts designed to protect same-size corridors of natural ecosystem, agricultural and development landscapes woven by landscape-sculpting conservation plans, such as the Sustainable Forestry Initiative Inc. and regional wildlife plans. For more information, please call (770) 761-1697 or (478) 994-7583.
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