Deal Honors Three Companies as 2015 Forestry for Wildlife Partners

Gov. Nathan Deal recognized three corporate forest landowners today for their stewardship and land management practices benefiting Georgia’s wildlife.

Plum Creek, Georgia Power and CatchMark Timber Trust were honored by Gov. Deal as 2015 partners in the Forestry for Wildlife Partnership, a program administered by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division.

Forestry for Wildlife Partnership is a voluntary program that promotes sustainable forest and wildlife conservation in corporate forestry practices. Partners select and tailor guidelines to improve management for reforestation, harvesting techniques, recreation, sensitive sites and outreach.

Representatives were recognized in a brief ceremony Wednesday at the State Capitol including DNR Commissioner Mark Williams, DNR Wildlife Resources Division Director Dan Forster, division Assistant Director Mark Whitney and others.

Forster noted that with more than 90 percent of Georgia forestland in private ownership, successful wildlife management requires conservation leadership in the state’s private and corporate sector. The 2015 partners had a positive impact for wildlife on approximately 1 million acres.

And these companies have long been part of this conservation program: Georgia Power since it started in 1999, Plum Creek since 2004 and CatchMark Timber Trust since 2011.

The Wildlife Resources Division recognized the three 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 corporate forestlands.
  • Participating in partnerships with conservation organizations.
  • Managing riparian forests for wildlife use and water quality protection.

Habitat abundance and natural quality are the foundation for wildlife. Georgia has more than 24 million acres of forestland. Of that, corporate forest landowners manage about 12 percent.

The efforts of Forestry for Wildlife partners have benefited endangered red-cockaded woodpecker habitats, bald eagle and swallow-tailed kite nesting, wetlands critical to protected reptiles and amphibians, and rare remnant Coosa Valley and Black Belt prairie habitats containing endangered plants. The partnerships also provide the public with many opportunities to enjoy the outdoors, including hunting, fishing and wildlife viewing.

All of the conservation enhancement components and reporting procedures are compatible with the Sustainable Forestry Initiative Inc., a voluntary approach in the forest industry to maintain high environmental standards on lands managed by corporate landowners.

Article by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources.