By Loren Lindler
There's a lot of things growing in rural Georgia - apples, cotton, fish, and, often overlooked, timber. Did you know Georgia is consistently ranked the #1 Forestry State in the nation? With 22 million acres of privately-owned timberland, working forests cover more than two-thirds of the state, largely in rural Georgia.
Have you ever thought about the products that we have because of forests? There are over 5,000 products derived from Georgia's forests. Besides the traditionally thought of products such as paper we write on, furniture we enjoy in our homes, and cardboard boxes to support our online shopping habits, there is more to the forestry industry than what we see on the surface.
Wood and derivatives from wood, such as wood pulp, cellulose, and rayon, allow us to use some of our favorite products on a daily basis. These items from the wood and wood derivatives including Parmesan cheese, smartphones and TV screens, candles, crayons, and so much more. Georgia's forestry industry plays a vital role in our lives; so it comes as no surprise that it contributes more than $36.5 billion to the economy annually.
According to the Georgia Forestry Foundation, "For each resident of our state, more than 21 trees are planted annually on private land to protect Georgia’s water, air and land. Landowners are annually planting more than 200,000,000 trees for a net increase of 48 percent more trees than are harvested each year."
Georgia's forestry industry requires all hands on deck, which is why it provides over 147,000 jobs across the state. Between, foresters, loggers, sawmill operators, biologists, and everything in between, there are so many unique ways to be involved in the industry.
In addition to providing us with so many products we use on an everyday basis, a number of creatures call Georgia's forests home. The state's forests play a large role in ecosystems and are home to many reptiles, amphibians, birds, mammals, and plants and animals of all kinds.
Georgia's forests are pretty cool, and there's a lot more to them than we might imagine. It is certainly no surprise that forestry is a big business in rural Georgia.