Gov. Sonny Perdue Announces Forestry for Wildlife Partners

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Gov. Sonny Perdue recently recognized five major corporate forest landowners in Georgia for their good stewardship in land management and their outstanding practices benefiting the state’s wildlife. Georgia Power, International Paper, MeadWestvaco, Temple-Inland and Plum Creek received awards for participating in the 2005 Forestry for Wildlife Partnership, a program administered by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Wildlife Resources Division (WRD). The Forestry for Wildlife Partnership (FWP) is a voluntary annual program that promotes blending wildlife conservation into corporate forestry practices and offers a variety of choices from which landowners can build a program compatible with their forest management objectives.

“Private sector land management practices are a major part of our efforts to conserve Georgia's natural resources. To become a Forestry for Wildlife Partner, companies must consistently perform land management activities that benefit wildlife and exceed the current regulatory and industry certification standards,” said Gov. Perdue.

WRD recognizes Georgia Power, International Paper, MeadWestvaco, Temple-Inland and Plum Creek as Forestry for Wildlife Partners for the integration of wildlife conservation practices into their forest management programs. Some of these practices include:

· Preparing wildlife conservation plans detailing natural resources inventories and outlining the management strategies for blending forest management with wildlife management.

· 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 WRD research projects.

· Providing public recreational opportunities on corporate forest lands.

· Participating in various partnerships with conservation organizations through programs such as Partners in Flight, the Longleaf Alliance, the Breeding Bird Atlas and the Georgia Herp Atlas.

· Managing riparian forests for wildlife use and water quality protection.

“In 2005, five companies that manage more than two million acres of forestlands in Georgia were able to achieve the distinction of being a Forestry for Wildlife member,” said DNR Commissioner Noel Holcomb. “We have set the bar very high for natural resource conservation in Georgia. These corporate forest landowners have responded by participating in this innovative partnership.”

Conservation efforts benefit from FWP through managing 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 more than two million acres for 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. The Association honored WRD with the Wildlife Stewardship Award for developing and coordinating the Forestry for Wildlife Program.

For more information about Forestry for Wildlife or other private lands initiatives call (770) 761-1697 or go to www.georgiawildlife.com.