Forest Guild Southeast Program PDF Print E-mail

The Forest Guild is currently working in two critical areas that affect the Southeast region: 1) ensuring the long-term sustainability of forests in regards to biomass harvesting, and 2) developing a payment for ecosystems services (PES) model for forested watershed management practices.

Biomass Harvesting Guidelines for Southeast Forest Types:

The Forest Guild's new guidelines for sustainable harvest of forest biomass in the Southeast details how to produce renewable energy from the region's forests while still protecting them for future generations.

Developing domestic, renewable sources of energy is a national priority, and in the Southeast, forest biomass is a potential source of renewable energy and fuel that also supports local economies. Already, the Southeast is exporting thousands of tons of forest biomass to Europe in the form of wood pellets to be burned instead of coal. Forecasts for forest bioenergy suggest harvesting levels could grow by over 100 percent by 2050. These harvests could also add to ecological stress caused by an expanding population, a warming climate, and spread of exotic plants and animals. The Forest Guild used the best available science and professional judgment of on-the-ground foresters from the region to identify practices that ensure the forest can support wildlife, maintain biodiversity, provide clean water, sequester carbon, protect soil productivity, and continue to produce income for the long term.

The guidelines were developed by a working group of 16 Forest Guild members from the Southeast and aided by Forest Guild staff. Together the working group identified practical and flexible targets for biomass retention. The guidelines identify the forest conditions that call for specific amounts of logging residues to remain in the forest during biomass harvest as well as the numbers and sizes of dead and dying standing trees that are necessary to maintain wildlife habitat.

PES for Forested Watershed Management Practices:

The Atlanta, GA metropolitan area is facing a critical, long-term water crisis. The Etowah River watershed encompasses 610 square miles, including parts of five counties and over 100 tributaries. Through the generous support an 18-month grant from the Sapelo Foundation in 2010/2011, the Forest Guild analyzed the relationship between forest watershed management and water quality in North Georgia by talking with and listening to many different stakeholders and researching approaches used in other areas. This process culminated when the Forest Guild convened a targeted group of diverse stakeholders on August 31, 2011 where the participants formed the Etowah River Water and Forestry Working Group (The Working Group) and unanimously agreed that the Forest Guild would lead this group. The Working Group also determined that the best opportunity to improve forest management on private lands in the Etowah watershed is through providing landowners with incentives to keep their lands forested and practice better management. The Forest Guild is working with partners to assess the feasibility of developing a PES in the Etowah watershed as a cost-effective method to help assure the quality of Metro Atlanta’s water supply.

Southeast Links

Ecological Forestry Workshop, Tennessee, May 28–29, 2008
Ecological Forestry Workshop, West Virginia, October 22–23, 2008
Ecological Forestry Workshop, Georgia, January 21–24, 2008
Southeast Regional Meeting, December 1–2, 2007
Maltreatment and Injustice: An Overview of the Plight of Latino Forest Workers in the Southeast
Ecological Forestry Guides in the Southeast

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