Fire-damaged portion of swamp to be replanted in hardwood trees

WAYCROSS, Ga. -- The Georgia Forestry Commission and a power company are replanting 500 acres of hardwood forest near the Okefenokee Swamp that was burned in the wildfires of 2007.

In an agreement with the forestry commission, Oglethorpe Power Corp. will replant fire-devastated wetlands with red maple, cypress, swamp chestnut oak and water tupelo trees inside the 33,000-acre Dixon Memorial State Forest south of Waycross in Ware and Brantley counties, the partners said in a release. The Sweat Farm Road Fire that was started by a downed power line west of Waycross roared south into the state forest and the swamp.

Typically, the burned-over areas would be left to "natural regeneration,'' which would take far longer for the wildlife habitat and damaged ecosystems to recover, said Dru Preston Jr., Carbon Project forester with the forestry commission.

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