Page 17 - Georgia Forestry - Winter 2020
P. 17

  Tangible Outcomes
FIA information is used for many different purposes:
 Monitoring Sustainability:
FIA provides forest
acreage, volumes and
growth and removal
numbers, which are
critical for knowing
whether we’re growing
enough wood for current
and future usage. If removals exceed growth for many years, Georgia would not have forest resources for future generations, so it is critical to have current growth/removals data. Knowing trend data for each species type is important to be sure we are not removing too much of one type of species and are continuing Georgia’s diverse species population.
Wildlife Habitat:
Data can be used
to monitor wildlife
species that prefer
specific habitats. By
tracking their habitat
change, wildlife professionals
can use FIA as one of their tools
to predict changes in populations and affect ecosystem management and decision-making activities by public and private entities. Gopher tortoises and northern long-eared bats are two species for which this information was recently used. Many other habitat analyses for numerous wildlife species have been done in the past.
Forest Health:
Since FIA plots are spread
fairly evenly across the
state, new threats in the
forest can be detected and
existing threats can be
monitored. Quantifying
the forest resource helps Georgia obtain funding to fight these threats. Hemlock woolly adelgid, emerald ash borer, redbay ambrosia beetle and thousand canker disease of black walnut are some of the threats FIA data has been used to quantify. Data is collected on invasive exotic species that displace native trees and prevent regeneration of our native forest, such as cogongrass, Chinese privet and many more. This also aids Georgia in obtaining funding to fight certain exotic invasive species that are the most harmful to our future forests. In addition, it will provide the GFC’s Protection Department with valuable data about the amount of fuel drying on the forest floor — fuel that can create hazardous wildfire conditions. The results are also used to fine-tune initial damage findings after natural disasters like Hurricane Michael and serve to improve methodologies used following future catastrophic weather events.
Carbon Monitoring:
A fairly new use of the FIA
data is for carbon storage monitoring. This is used
to quantify the forest’s
contribution to offsetting
carbon dioxide emissions,
critical to mitigating climate change.
Effects of Urbanization and Land-
Use Change Monitoring:
FIA data can be used to track changes from forest to non-forest and can be used
for documenting to
what purpose forestland is being converted. Around cities, FIA can be used to track loss of forest to urban land uses, and in rural areas, it can be used to detail land use changes from forest to agriculture or agriculture
to forest.
New Wood-Using
Mill Locations:
Importantly, FIA data
is the foundation for
business calculations
that can translate
into huge financial
decisions, such as
where to locate a new wood mill — decisions that can directly impact the state’s economy. FIA data analyzes wood supply in specific areas, and those numbers can be used to project whether supply will meet demand. The GFC’s Forest Utilization Department provides this wood supply analysis to worldwide industry stakeholders considering locating in Georgia.
      “The data give land managers, business prospects, investors and the like an idea of what to expect in the region’s timber supply.”
— Risher Willard, Georgia Forestry Commission’s Chief Forester, Utilization | 15

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