Timber Production and Forestry
A robust forestry industry helps provide rural landscapes an economic purpose and environmental benefit while keeping land in private ownership.
Georgia’s position as the top state in the nation for timber harvest volume offers an opportunity for rural economic development across our coast. The timber industry provides our state with $21.5 billion in outputs, approximately 55,089 jobs, $1.6 billion from forest-related outdoor recreation benefits, and more than $30 billion in important ecosystem services such as regulation of water quality and quantity and carbon sequestration.
We evaluated economic and land use forestry trends in coastal Georgia to determine if our economy and environment are benefitting from all the industry has to offer.
What We Learned
Finding: Coastal Georgia’s forestry sector appears strong when compared with the rest of the state.
The coastal region is the second-largest producing region, employs the second-largest number of people, and pays the highest wages and salaries when compared with the industry’s regional impacts across the state. The coast only has 7% of the state’s population but contributes 10% of the state’s forestry revenues. And the forest industry supports $404 million in wages/salaries to coastal communities.
Finding: Forested land in coastal Georgia (six counties) is under high demand from other uses, including urbanization. While forestry operations and production of forest products can diminish the quality of coastal environments, forested acres generally preserve the quality of natural landscapes compared to impervious urban developments.
Nearly all of the forested acres lost in Georgia between 2007 and 2017 were in the six coastal counties.
Timber feeds mills. We have seven pulp and paper mills in the six coastal counties. In the future, as we continue to evaluate the sustainability of this sector, we hope to find data that reveal that the mills in coastal Georgia are sourcing their wood from timber farms in coastal Georgia. Data was not available at this time to reveal where locally grown timber is consumed or the sources of the mills’ timber.
Protect, connect, and enhance environments for coastal plants and animals to adapt to changes in sea level and benefit the community.
Maintain thriving, working landscapes and waterfronts that support the sustainable production of food and fiber for our communities.
Cultivate opportunities to enjoy and recreate in the special places and historic communities along Georgia’s coast.
Promote economic development that respects natural environments and preserves the character of our coastal communities.