Georgia Forestry Commission (GFC)

GFC is the primary state agency in charge of detection and suppression of invasive species within the state’s 24.7 million forested acres. GFC is actively involved with suppressing southern pine beetle infestations and responsible for selecting predator insects release sites to combat the hemlock woolly adelgid on state and privately-owned lands. In addition to monitoring or surveying for several tree diseases, GFC deploys a series of early detection insect traps at multiple locations in an effort to trap a variety of non-native insects that could impact the state’s forests and trees (sirex woodwasps, gypsy moths, and emerald ash borer). GFC conducts terrestrial surveys for Phytophthora ramorum (the causative agent of sudden oak death), and is conducting stream baiting to detect its presence within specific watersheds identified as high risk. The GFC surveys warehouses that receive cargo with solid wood packing material from high risk regions of the world for exotic bark beetles (i.e., Asian longhorn beetle). GFC also promotes detection and suppression of non-native plants where practical and possible. Cogongrass has become a priority invasive species for GFC and efforts are underway to educate the public to recognize and report species occurrences. GFC and USDA-APHIS personnel are treating and eradicating all known cogongrass infestations in Georgia. GFC forest health staff conducts or participates in over 150 public speaking opportunities each year to various organizations including foresters and other resource managers, fire fighters, loggers, civic groups, environmental groups, school and college groups, state and county public works departments, hunting and fishing organizations and farm organizations. In all, GFC personnel expend over 50,000 hours annually on invasive forest pest issues.