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spectr17
10-04-2007, 12:47 AM
Forest Guide Profits Landowners And Birds

10/3/07

Social Circle, Georgia - A free booklet is helping family forest owners in Georgia's Coastal Plain region manage their property to benefit birds and the bottom line.

More than 80 percent of forestland in the state is privately owned, putting the fate of many forest-dwelling birds in the hands of private landowners. "Forest Ecosystem Conservation Handbook for Birds in Georgia," released in 2005, explains how to establish and maintain productive upland pine forests while providing critical habitat for resident and neotropical migratory birds, many of them at risk.

"The specific goal was to increase family forest owners' awareness of management strategies that would benefit songbirds in the Atlantic Coast Plain ecosystem. And we've accomplished that," said Drue DeBerry, the guide's author and vice president of habitat conservation at the American Forest Foundation.

While some 9,000 hard copies have been distributed, there are still requests for the handbook produced by Forested Flyways, part of the Forest Foundation's habitat conservation program, and done in concert with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources' Wildlife Resources Division, the Georgia Forestry Commission and other organizations.

The 68-page guide explores the importance of forest ecosystems to birds and other wildlife.

"Most landowners want to do the right thing for the wildlife that shares their land," said Nathan Klaus, a senior biologist with Wildlife Resources' Nongame Conservation Section, which works to protect the state's wildlife diversity. "This book is an excellent resource that brings the expertise of hundreds of wildlife biologists and researchers to these Georgians."

Copies, made possible by the Forest Stewardship Program, are available for free at Georgia Forestry Commission offices. The guide also can be downloaded at www.georgiawildlife.com (http://www.georgiawildlife.com/) (under "Nongame Animals & Plants") or www.forestedflyways.org (http://www.forestedflyways.org/) (click "Publications" and "Handbooks").

Other project partners included the American Bird Conservancy, The American Tree Farm System, the Georgia Forestry Association, Georgia Power Co., The Home Depot Foundation, the Joseph W. Jones Ecological Research Center at Ichauway, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and the U.S. Forest Service.

The Wildlife Resources Nongame Conservation Section depends on federal grants, donations and fund-raisers such as the State Income Tax Checkoff and sales of bald eagle and hummingbird vehicle tags. The license plates are available for $25 at county tag offices, by checking the appropriate box on mail-in forms and when renewing online at http://mvd.dor.ga.gov/tags.

Media Contact:
Rick Lavender, WRD Nongame public affairs - (770) 918-6787 rick.lavender@gadnr.org