Population growth and development are the main threats to forest land in the South. In a new study, federal forestry officials say Georgia and surrounding states can expect to lose 23 million acres of land over the next five decades—more than 20 percent. But it’s not only urbanization as a reason--weather patterns, bioenergy use and invasive species are also dangers.
A more active wildfire season -- coupled with deeper budget cuts -- is a bad combination for state forestry officials. The Georgia Forestry Commission says with reduced staffing and county unit offices the past couple of years, the agency has had to get creative in trying to ensure there isn’t too much loss in wildfire preparedness.