Georgia's forests valued at $38 billion

Most Georgia land privately owned

  • Follow Business

ATLANTA --- The annual environmental value of Georgia's private forest land is $37.6 billion, says a study by the University of Georgia released Wednesday at a Capitol news conference.

"That's a staggering number. That's an amazing number, but that's a real number," said Chuck Leavell, the keyboard player for the Rolling Stones and large tree farmer in south Georgia.

Economists have long been able to estimate the commercial and recreational value of timberland, but this study represents the first attempt to put a dollar amount on the environmental benefits, said Steve McWilliams, the president of the Georgia Forestry Association. The association was among the handful of advocacy groups funding the study.

Researchers from the University of Georgia's Warnell School of Forestry & Natural Resources spent three years looking at the 22 million acres of privately owned timberland, the biggest amount of any state in the nation. They gauged factors such as water filtration, carbon storage, wildlife habitat and aesthetics from the six types of forest ecology found in the state. Then they figured what each of those factors was worth in the marketplace.

Environmental advocates hope the study's findings will demonstrate a financial value to preserve the land from development. They will likely argue that those financial benefits justify the tax breaks that property owners get for growing trees.

Because 92 percent of the state's forest land is owned by individuals, devising policies that provide incentives to property owners is cheaper than having taxpayers try to buy up acreage to preserve land for environmental purposes, advocates say.

Nevertheless, Gov. Nathan Deal, the son of an agriculture teacher, said that considering the $28 billion annual value of Georgia's wood-products industry, the state should exploit its timberland strengths. He pointed out that Georgia is a major exporter of wood pellets to Europe for heating and energy.

"I want Georgia to be the leader in the production of biomass," Deal said.

Comments (1) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
burninater
9921
Points
burninater 02/10/11 - 12:19 pm
0
0
Nevertheless, Gov. Nathan

Nevertheless, Gov. Nathan Deal, the son of an agriculture teacher, said that considering the $28 billion annual value of Georgia's wood-products industry, the state should exploit its timberland strengths. He pointed out that Georgia is a major exporter of wood pellets to Europe for heating and energy.

--------------

So, $38 billion in water storage and treatment services, air treatment services, and recreational service (including the hunting industry) vs. $28 billion in extraction value, and extraction value is favored.

Prime example of ideology trumping economics. Way to go, narrow-mindedness ...

Back to Top

Search Augusta jobs