Georgia Magazine - July 2013 - (Page 28)

Wood basket of the world Georgia’s tree industry is growing BY GREG BROOKS DAN SAWYER What your dad told you about money growing on trees may have been wrong. It appears money does grow on trees, especially here in Georgia. Georgia’s forest industry pumped $25 billion into the state’s economy during 2011, according to the Georgia Forestry Commission. And that figure is trending upward again after a few years of decline mirroring the general condition of our economy. “It’s manufacturing. It’s jobs. It’s the farm gate value of the timber crop,” says Bob Izlar, director of the Center for Forest Business at the University of Georgia’s Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources. “What that figure doesn’t in- clude—what we have a hard time measuring—is the value of things like hunting and fishing leases, cell tower leases, pine straw harvesting and all the other ways people generate income from their forest land,” says Izlar. But there’s more at stake than money. “How do you estimate the value of clean water, clean air and recreational benefits the forests provide?” Izlar continues. “The forest landowners of Georgia provide that for free. They don’t charge for the clean air, for the clean, filtered water that forests provide.” “When it rains across Georgia, two out of three raindrops fall on forestland,” says state Rep. Chuck Williams, who is also a tree farmer in Oconee County. (Two-thirds of Georgia’s land area is forested.) “Our forests are critically important in assuring not only a dependable wood supply, but also clean water and air.” Although these intangibles—which also include climate regulaBeth and Chuck Williams, of Oconee County, obtained tion, wildlife habitat Certified Tree Farm status from the American Tree Farm Asservices and aesthetsociation and were named 2005 Georgia Tree Farmers of the ics—are difficult to Year. The Tree Farm certification is based on a multiple-use estimate, the University concept that includes wood, water, wildlife and recreation. of Georgia’s Warnell 28 More online at School conducted a 2011 study that put a yearly value of these benefits at more than $38 billion. Georgia’s forest industry grows up Until the 1930s, Georgia’s forests produced two main products: turpentine, a liquid resulting from distilling pine resin used mainly as a solvent, and timber for building and construction. Turpentine production was a fairly stable market, but saw timber production has always ebbed and flowed with the building industry. All that changed when Charles Herty, a Milledgeville-born chemist, discovered how to use the pulp of Southern pine species for newsprint and white paper manufacturing. Until then, it was thought that cheap, fastgrowing Southern trees produced too much resin to be suitable for the manufacture of those types of paper. Northern spruce varieties, more expensive and slower growing, had the market cornered. A talented chemist, Herty was also a gifted lobbyist, advocate and fundraiser. He traveled the Southeast addressing legislatures, technical societies, chambers of commerce, bankers, paper manufacturers and anyone who would listen on his newfound technology and urging them to invest. Ground was broken for the first mill using Herty’s process in 1939. “That really set [the South] on the path to markets and commercialization,” Izlar says. “It gave forest landGEORGIA MAGAZINE

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Georgia Magazine - July 2013

Georgia Magazine - July 2013
Liberty Notes
Picture This?
Georgia News
Calendar of Events
Georgia’s Energy Outlook
Fly-in or Drive-In
“Air Fare America”
Wood Basket of the World
Link to Video on Georgia’s Tree Industry
Lighten Up!
Control What You Consume
Around Georgia
Enhancing your adventure
My Georgia
Georgia Gardens
More Snapshot photos
Plant of the month
July’s online trivia contest
Georgia Grown spotlight

Georgia Magazine - July 2013