The 22.1 million acres of privately owned forestland in Georgia provide value to everyone—even to those who don’t own land. The study reports that the value of private forests ranges from $264 to $13,442 per acre annually, depending on the land’s characteristics. This finding helps demonstrate the fact that private forests are worth many times the public investment we currently make in forests.
The Value of Nature
Forestlands are a critical provider of important ecosystem services. In addition to timber and other products, America’s privately owned forests provide essential services to people in the form of water filtration, carbon storage, wildlife habitat and recreational opportunities. Georgia’s forests are cared for by families that maintain and restore their land through powerful, private stewardship.
“It’s clear that privately owned forests provide services of tremendous value to all the citizens of Georgia, well beyond the broadly recognized values of timber, recreation and wildlife. We hope that this report represents a starting point for discussing how the public benefits rendered from privately owned forests may be recognized in the marketplace, eventually in a way that helps to stem the loss of forestland in the region,” said Paul Trianosky, director of southern forest conservation for the American Forest Foundation.
Chuck Leavell, American Tree Farm System certified tree farmer and former AFF trustee, was at today’s event in Atlanta, along with a coalition of business, government and conservation organizations. “Quantifying the Value” report authors include Rebecca Moore, Tiffany Williams, Eduardo Rodriguez and Jeffrey Hepinstall-Cymmerman. View the full report here [PDF].
Coming Up: Ecosystem Markets Conference
The new statistics coming today out of Georgia are just one example of the benefits provided to the American people by family forest owners managing forestland across the country. In an effort to highlight the ways that markets can protect and restore ecosystems, AFF and the World Resources Institute host the annual Ecosystem Markets Conference. Planning is underway for the 4th annual event—mark your calendars for June 28 to July 1, 2011 in Madison, Wisconsin. Information on the 2010 Conference can be found here.
Hi! I’m Amanda and I’m new to the media and marketing team at the American Forest Foundation. You can get in touch with me by email at ACooke@forestfoundation.org or follow me on Twitter @AC350. If you have a comment about today’s news out of Georgia, add your comment below!