Agreement will help preserve Northwest Georgia forests

25 11 2008

Calhoun Times

Georgia ForestWatch, Southern Environmental Law Center and the U.S. Forest Service plus other concerned groups and citizens concluded an intensive, three-year public review process in August culminating in agreement in principle regarding a timber management project on the Chattahoochee National forest in Northwest Georgia over the next five to eight years.“All sides put a lot of effort into this process and had to ‘give a little’ to reach agreement,” said Wayne Jenkins, executive director, Georgia ForestWatch. “We support good, collaborative forestry and most of this project sounds like good forestry.”

“We would like to see the Forest Service pursue more of this type of collaborative restoration work on other national forests in the Southern Appalachian mountains,” said Sarah Francisco, an attorney with the Southern Environmental Law Center.

The bulk of the 6,200-acre timber project entails thinning pine plantations that have no place in the mountains of Southern Appalachia – a key factor in gaining agreement of the non-profit forest conservation organizations.

This type of thinning is necessary, Jenkins said, to help prevent Southern Pine Beetle infestations on the thousands of acres of overcrowded pine stands on the Chattahoochee. And in time, with appropriate forestry, such stands will mature to a more natural native forest of mixed hardwood and pine species.

“If the Forest Service does this project correctly – and we will be monitoring them closely on this – this could be a win-win scenario for the national forests in Georgia and the citizens who own them,” Jenkins said.

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