Ninety-two 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.
For more than a century, these working forests have turned Georgia’s most plentiful, renewable, natural resource – trees – into jobs and tax dollars, cleaning Georgia’s air and water in the process. These forests are known as working forests.
> Georgia Forest Facts, Georgia Forestry Commission
> Georgia, 2011: Forest Inventory & Analysis Factsheet, U.S. Department of Agriculture
Private landowners, who own the majority of forestland in the Georgia, are committed the sustainability of Georgia's forests.
Georgia’s commercial timberlands grow 19 million tons more wood each year than is harvested, resulting in growth exceeding removals by 38 percent. With a total of 14.5 trillion trees, which does not include urban trees, Georgia has more forests today than it did 75 years ago.
> Executive Summary of the Georgia Sustainable Forest Management Report, Georgia Forestry Commission
> VIDEO: Sustainability: A Georgia Success Story, Sustainable Forestry Initiative
> VIDEO: Forest Fast Break: Sustainability, ForestInfo.org
Georgia’s working forests provide vast opportunity for recreation to the benefit of Georgians and visitors to the state. Forests are important to hunters, anglers, birdwatchers, hikers, nature photographers, horseback riders, campers and others.
The work by landowners to manage these forests includes, of course, water as a high priority, providing additional recreational opportunity such as canoeing and rafting. Without the state’s abundance of working forests, Georgia would not be one of the leading sportsman’s destinations in the country. Georgia residents and visitors spend more than $3 billion on wildlife recreation in the state.
> Georgia's Private Woodlands, Georgia Forestry Foundation
> VIDEO: Forest Fast Break: Wildlife, ForestInfo.org
Over several generations, the forestry industry has turned trees into turpentine then lumber, poles, posts, panels, pulp, paper and specialty chemicals. Today, trees from Georgia’s forests are used in thousands of common consumer items that play a vital part in improving your health and your everyday life.
Also, Georgia’s timber harvests produce millions of green tons of logging residues annually. Much of this can be collected to produce bioenergy. The forest industry has for years turned biomass from the forest floor and waste from forest product manufacturing into energy to more efficiently power its manufacturing facilities.
> What Do We Get From Trees? Georgia Forestry Commission
> VIDEO: Forest Fast Break: Wood Products, ForestInfo.org
Today, Georgia’s forest product manufacturers annually inject $28.9 billion into the state’s economy.
Georgia’s 22 million acres of timberland available for commercial use – more than any other state in the nation – employ 49,497 Georgians in 163 wood product manufacturing facilities, 1,200 secondary manufacturers, 1,200 logging contractors and another 200 vendors in the state’s third largest industry. Thousands of Georgians are employed at trucking companies, railroads, the port and wholesalers and retailers whose roles are vital for moving Georgia’s wood and fiber to market.
> Economic Benefits of the Forest Industry in Georgia, Georgia Forestry Commission
> National Economic Impact Comparison, National Alliance of Forest Owners
> VIDEO: Forest Fast Break: Forest Management, ForestInfo.org
Working forests are fundamental to reducing overall greenhouse gas (GHG) concentrations in the atmosphere.
Trees absorb carbon dioxide from the air through photosynthesis and store it in the roots, stem, limbs and leaves of the tree as part of natural tree growth. This process, called carbon sequestration, occurs most rapidly in growing trees and slows down as trees age. Sequestered carbon is stored in the forest in trees, soil, and the wood debris on the forest floor and in long-lasting products made from harvested wood.
> VIDEO: Forest Fast Break, Carbon Capture, ForestInfo.org
Many of the state’s 44,056 miles of perennial streams, 23,906 miles of intermittent streams and 603 miles of ditches and canals begin or flow through forestlands providing a vital infiltration system for the 134 water supply reservoirs that provide many Georgians with a clean source of water.
State Best Management Practices (BMP), tailored to the specific conditions and needs within a state or region, address such things as harvesting, planting and roads. In 2011, 187 sites, 21,977 acres of separate forestry operations were evaluated. Approximately 99.8 percent of those acres were in compliance with BMPs.
> VIDEO: Forest Fast Break, Water, ForestInfo.org
Beyond timber, forest products and recreation, working forests provide direct benefits to humans in the form of ecosystem services such as: greenhouse gas and climate regulation, water quantity and quality, soil formation and stability, pollination, habitat refuge, and aesthetic and cultural values.
A University of Georgia study completed in January 2011 conservatively estimates the value of the ecosystem services of Georgia’s 22 million acres of privately owned forestland at more than $37.6 billion per year.
> Georgia's Private Woodlands, Georgia Forestry Foundation
> VIDEO: Forest Fast Break: Ecosystems, ForestInfo.org
5th - 8th Grade
"We All Need Trees"
Students are often surprised to learn how many different products we get from trees. Use this activity to help your students learn just how much we depend on trees in our daily lives.
> Lesson Plan (PDF)
> Fact Sheet: Nature's Treasure Chest - The Tree (PDF)
> Fun Page: Products We Get From Trees (PDF)
"Plant a Tree"
Never underestimate the power of a tree! Besides giving us an amazing array of paper and wood products, trees provide a host of other benefits – from shading our backyards to assisting in the maintenance of the global climate. Students can express their appreciation of trees by planning and carrying out their own tree-planting project.
> Lesson Plan (PDF)
> Making Your Home More Energy Efficient by Planting Trees (PDF)
> Fun Page: Choosing Trees to Plant (PDF)
9th - 12th Grade
"400 Acre Wood"
In this activity, students will play the role of managers of a 400-acre (162 hectare) piece of public forest. Through this role, students will begin to understand the complex considerations that influence management decisions about forest lands.
> Lesson Plan (PDF)
Georgia Agricultural Education Pathway Courses
These Forestry and Natural Resources Pathway Courses fit in to the Georgia Agricultural Education curriculum for high school education and contain links to lesson plans, power points and standards/student checkoff sheets. Click here to learn more.
Student Activity Pages:
The following activity pages can be used together or separately to supplement your forestry lesson.
> Evaluating Tree Benefits (PDF)
> Forest Health Indicator: Tree and Crown Condition (PDF)
> Fact Sheet: Tree Benefits (PDF)
The Harley Langdale Foundation (www.thelangdalecompany.com)
Stuckey Timberland, Inc. (www.stuckeytimberland.com)
Georgia Forestry Association
Gilman Building Products, LLC
Linda Beam, Guerry Beam Foundation
Mr. & Ms. Jimmy Allen, Community Foundation of South Georgia (www.cfsga.net)
Plum Creek Timber Company (www.plumcreek.com)
Superior Pine Products Company (www.superiorpine.com)
Energy Launch Partners (www.energylaunchpartners.com)
Gay Wood Company, Inc.
Jordan Lumber Company (www.jordanlumber.com)
Peeples Industries, Inc. (www.peeplesind.com)
Pope Trucking, Inc. (www.popetrucking.com)
Wesley & Kimberly Langdale
Atlanta Gas Light (www.atlantagaslight.com)
Allen Hodges, Hodges II Foundation, Inc.
American Forest Management (www.americanforestmanagement.com)
Claw Forestry Services, LLC
Earl & Wanda Barrs, Gulley Branch Tree Farm
Faison Middleton | Watson Spence, LLP (www.watsonspence.com)
Huber Engineered Woods, LLC (www.huberwood.com)
Hugh M. Tarbutton
International Forest Company (www.interforestry.com)
J & J Land and Timber
The Price Company (www.thepricecompanies.com)
Timber Mart-South (www.timbermart-south.com)
Adam & Amy Westcot, GA PLT Committee Member
Balfoar Timber Company, Inc. (www.balfourlumber.com)
Beasley Forest Products, Inc. (www.beasleyforestproducts.com)
Bob and Claudia Lazenby, Arbor Creek Forestry, LLC
Carla Rapp, Georgia Forestry Association
Citizens National Bank of Quitman (www.cnbquitman.com)
Cumberland Plantation FLP
David and Carol Armitage
David Whitehouse, GA PLT Committee Member
Debbie Davis, GA PLT Committee Member
Dolliver Communications & Education Services, Sharon Dolliver
Dotty Porter, Sessoms Timber Trust
Edmond & Jody Strickland
Elise Berman, GA PLT Committee Member
F&W Forestry Services, Inc. (www.fwforestry.com)
Forestar Real Estate Group (www.forestargroup.com)
Forisk Consulting (www.forisk.com)
Forest Resource Consultants (www.frc.us.com)
Georgia Land & Timber, Inc.
Georgia Power (www.georgiapower.com)
Gresco Utility Supply (www.gresco.com)
HL Strategy, Inc. (www.hlstrategy.com)
Hunter Maclean Attorneys (www.huntermaclean.com)
James & Barbara Barrett
James I. Alfriend Consulting Foresters, LLC (www.alfriendforesters.com)
Judy Greer, Lacksen Family Partnership
Kris Irwin, GA PLT Committee Member
Linda Law, GA PLT Committee Member
Matt Hestad, Georgia Forestry Association
Missy Eason, GA PLT Committee Member
Poole and Dunn Management
Robert Farris, Georgia Forestry Commission
Sparks Lumber Company
Thompson Hardwoods, Inc. (www.thompsonhardwoods.com)
LuAnn Craighton, Valley View Farms
Rick & Barbara Boler
Rocky Branch Tree Farm
Roscoe Tilden Bembry Family, LP
Royal Consulting, Inc.
Sustainable Solutions Georgia, LCC (www.ssga.info)
The Bank of Soperton (www.bankofsoperton.com)
The Woodall-Wilson Timber Company
Toledo Manufacturing Company
Valerie Noles, Georgia Forestry Foundation
Varn Wood Products, LLC