An ongoing statewide series of meetings has begun in Georgia following on the Forest Congress. The newly formed Georgia Forest Resource Council has met several times since February to address management of forests near the Chattahoochie River and implementation of the next steps developed at the Georgia back-home tables at the Washington, DC meeting. A third meeting held on August 27th addressed prescribed burning regulations proposed in the Atlanta area. Coming from different directions (e.g., forestry professionals were concerned about fuelloads building up without prescribed burns, environmentalist were concerned about the possible effect a burning ban would have on endangered species), the Council members decided to petition to get an exemption in the regulations due in late 96 to allow prescribed burns for forest management, similar to the exemption now in place for agriculture.
The GA Forest Resource Council is composed of representatives of environmental organizations, forest products industry, state and federal land management agencies, and small woodland owners.
The fourth meeting of the GFRC took place on October 3rd and considered coastal zone management alternatives for Georgia. Based on this meeting and a series of public hearings, the Georgia Forestry Association, Georgia Conservancy, Georgia Wildlife Federation, Sierra Club, Georgia Pulp and Paper Association, and others were able to work with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources to draft a bill suitable to all. The bill passed the state House of Representatives in late January 1997, and has been sent on to the Georgia Senate. The next meeting of the GFRC will focus on urban sprawl and is scheduled to take place in April 1997.
Contact: Bob Izlar, Executive Director, Georgia Forestry Association, 500 Pinnacle Court #505, Norcross, GA 30071, Phone: 770-416-7621, Fax: 770-840-8961