Friday, October 30, 2009

Georgia Forestry Commission Begins Restoration through ARRA Grants

The Georgia Forestry Commission (GFC) has embarked on a reforestation project made possible by funding from the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). The first of five grants totaling $9.7 million will provide for the planting of seedlings in a suburban Atlanta forest.

Funded by the ARRA, the Regional Longleaf Pine Restoration Initiative project, administered by the GFC, will reestablish longleaf pines in the southeast United States. Longleaf pine forests are highly valued for their resistance to damage by insects, diseases, wildfire, and storms, and for their yield of high quality wood products, biological diversity, and scenic beauty.

Four other forestry-related ARRA grants will be administered in the months ahead as part of the ARRA plan to help stimulate the economy and benefit Georgia's environment. The funds will not replace or supplant state mandated GFC budget reductions, but can only be used for the creation of new, temporary positions in the forestry industry.

"These proposals will enhance GFC initiatives beyond what was possible under current austere budget conditions," said Robert Farris, Director of the Georgia Forestry Commission. "The work will have multiple benefits, including reducing the risk of catastrophic wildfire, fighting invasive plant species and reaching out to thousands of landowners who need updated forest management plans."

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