Stop the destruction of Georgia forests

  • by: Dogwood Alliance
  • recipient: Georgia State Senate and House of Representatives

Standing forests in Georgia provide our communities with clean air, fresh water, and critical carbon storage. However, forests in Georgia are threatened daily by massive extraction and degradation — at one of the fastest rates in the world.

When Georgia forests are destroyed, degraded, converted to plantations, or harvested to burn for bioenergy, their climate and community benefits disappear. Short-lived products like paper, pulp, and wood pellets come at a great expense to our forests, climate, and communities.

Contact your Senator today to ask them to support a resolution that promotes expansion, protection, and rewilding of Georgia's forests!

Dear [Senator/Representative],

I am writing to urge you to support Georgia forests, our economy, and our futures by endorsing SR108/HR930, the Stand4Forests Resolution. Forest destruction and degradation are occurring at an alarming rate in our state, and this threatens our ability to take advantage of the green economy, protect our communities from flooding and storms, and combat the existential threat of climate change.

Communities along Georgia's coastline are particularly vulnerable to climate change, with expected impacts posing costly and dangerous threats to infrastructure and human health. Even more, Moody's Investor Service -- one of three main credit rating agencies -- has warned that failure to prepare for climate change could mean downgraded credit for coastal cities such as Savannah. Protecting forests will buffer our communities from this expected damage, but unfortunately, Georgia's forests are being cut down at an alarming rate due to the ever-expanding wood pellet industry and industrial logging more broadly. Not only does the wood pellet industry harm our state by degrading Georgia's forests, the burning of the wood pellets  contributes to global climate change by releasing more greenhouse gas emissions than burning coal.

To have a fighting chance against climate change, we must immediately heed the warnings of scientists and scale up forest protection, rewild and restore degraded forests, and transition to a green economy. This comes with many opportunities for the state of Georgia.

When left standing, natural forests provide billions in economic value to Georgia. Recent research has found that in Georgia, wetland forests alone are worth $67.3 billion when left standing. Georgia's forests, when protected, can buffer communities from the damage caused by extreme weather events, reduce costs of waste and water treatment, provide habitat for pollinators, and support an already robust wildlife-related recreation economy.

I urge you to support Georgia forests, our economy, and our future by endorsing SR108/HR930. It is economically, socially, and ecologically responsible to expand forest protection, restore degraded forests, and transition to a green economy. SR108/HR930 endorses the Stand4Forests platform -- a national movement that supports permanent expansion of protected lands, opposes subsidies for false solutions like biomass for energy, pushes for the accurate and transparent accounting of emissions from the forestry sector, advocates for investment in forest protection as a resiliency and adaptation strategy for communities vulnerable to climate change, and finally, supports the development of just economic transition strategies for communities dependent on extractive forest economies in order to provide more options for landowners and municipalities to keep forests standing. 

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