The Forest Management Unit of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division recently was recognized by the Southeastern Section of The Wildlife Society with the Wildlife Management Excellence Award.
This award honors an agency, or unit of an agency, whose management activities promote conservation, management, and provide economic benefits.
“Our unit has been able to make remarkable advances in the past five years and are excited about the direction in which we are moving,” said Matt Payne, program manager of the Forest Management Unit. “We look forward to continuing to advance silvicultural activities that promote a healthy forest which has and will enhance wildlife habitat for many years to come.”
Accomplishments of the Forest Management Unit include updating the upland pine and mixed hardwood-pine forest inventories for all state-owned wildlife management areas (WMA). This unit received input from all resource professionals within DNR to have a well-defined comprehensive stand-level management proposal. In addition, the unit made long and short-term harvest projections that conform to 50-year plans for each state-owned WMA to achieve desired future forest conditions that meet wildlife management objectives.
In the past five years, the Forest Management Unit has:
- Enhanced approximately 19,000 acres for wildlife through timber harvest, both thinning and reforestation cuts.
- Reforested over 3,000 acres, of which approximately one-third were in longleaf pine.
- Reviewed and approved over 150,000 acres of prescribed burn plans, and provided aid on over 100,000 acres of prescribed burns.
“The Forest Management Unit elevated our agency’s ability to meet multiple land management objectives and develop significant working relationships across various levels of State government,” said Dan Forster, Director of the Wildlife Resources Division. “They have revolutionized the habitat planning and timber harvest processes and helped advance priorities across other sections. I am thrilled to see them get this recognition that they have most certainly earned.”
The Southeastern Section of The Wildlife Society works to ensure that wildlife and their habitats are conserved through management actions that take into careful consideration relevant scientific information. Their mission is to represent and serve the professional community of scientists, managers, educators, technicians, planners, and others who work actively to study, manage, and conserve wildlife and its habitats worldwide.
Photo (L-R): John Bowers (Chief of Game Management); Chris Roberts (Natural Resource Biologist); Dan Minnick (Assistant Program Manager); Matt Payne (Program Manager); Forrest Buckner (Natural Resource Biologist); Jeremy Whigham (Natural Resource Biologist); Ted Will (Assistant Chief of Game Management)