Gov. Sonny Perdue recognized two corporate forest landowners in Georgia today for their stewardship in land management and practices benefiting the state’s wildlife.
Plum Creek and Georgia Power were honored Wednesday, Feb. 3, for participating in the 2009 Forestry for Wildlife Partnership, a program administered by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division. The Forestry for Wildlife Partnership is a voluntary annual program that promotes blending wildlife conservation into corporate forestry practices and offers choices from which landowners can build a program compatible with their forest management objectives.
“Stewardship of Georgia's natural resources is vitally important to our state's future,” Perdue said. “Georgia Power and Plum Creek serve as model corporate citizens with their participation in the
Forestry for Wildlife Partnership.”
The companies have helped improve a total of 937,700 acres for wildlife. The Wildlife Resources Division recognized the two as Forestry for Wildlife Partners for integrating wildlife conservation practices into their forest management programs. Some of the practices included:
- Preparing wildlife conservation plans that detail natural resources 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 techniques into current land-use planning and timber management practices.
- Providing valuable data for Wildlife Resources research projects.
- Providing public recreational opportunities on corporate forestlands.
- Participating in partnerships with conservation organizations through programs such as Partners in Flight, the Longleaf Alliance, the state Breeding Bird Atlas, and the Georgia Amphibians and Reptiles Atlas.
- Managing riparian forests for wildlife use and water quality protection.
Habitat is the key to wildlife abundance. Georgia has more than 24 million acres of forestland. Of that land base, 93 percent is privately owned. Corporate forest landowners manage 18 percent.
Georgia Power helped develop the Forestry for Wildlife Partnership in the 1990s and Plum Creek joined in 2004. Wildlife Resources Division Director Dan Forster said the program has proved “a catalyst that served to engage the wildlife community with the forestry industry in Georgia,” registering positive impacts on varied initiatives such as Georgia’s Wildlife Action plan and the annual nongame fundraiser Weekend for Wildlife.
“It’s especially rewarding to see these two pioneering partners still engaged in this flagship partnership,” Forster said of Plum Creek and Georgia Power.
Conservation efforts benefit from Forestry for Wildlife through management of endangered red-cockaded woodpecker habitats, managing and monitoring bald eagle and swallow-tailed kite nesting, managing isolated wetlands critical to protected reptiles and amphibians like the gopher frog, managing rare remnant Coosa Valley Prairie and Black Belt Prairie habitats containing endangered plants, and providing numerous public hunting opportunities.
All of the conservation enhancement components and reporting procedures are compatible with the American Forest and Paper Association’s Sustainable Forestry Initiative, a voluntary approach within the forest industry to maintain high environmental standards on lands managed by corporate landowners.
Call (770) 761-1697 or go to www.georgiawildlife.com
for more information about Forestry for Wildlife or other private lands initiatives.