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Environmental Protection


Alligator of Georgia
Alligator of Georgia

The prevention of soil erosion is the state’s primary concern in the field of conservation. Much topsoil has been lost as a result of the excess runoff of rainwater and floodwater. It is estimated that since colonial times, parts of the Piedmont and the Atlantic Coastal Plain have lost between 18 and 38 cm (7 and 15 in) of topsoil. Soil fertility has also been reduced. Until about the 1930s a major factor in the destruction of Georgia’s soils was the cotton grower, whose poor farming techniques encouraged excessive water runoff and soil depletion. Another important factor has been the hilly, sloping nature of much of the land. When left bare, the hillslopes are soon gullied and stripped of their soil by heavy rains. Since the 1930s much of the eroded cotton-growing acreage has been converted to pastureland or woodland. On the hilly lands still under cultivation, contour plowing, terracing, strip cropping, and crop rotation techniques are now used to help reduce runoff and maintain soil fertility. As part of the efforts to reduce runoff and flooding, the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) operates two dams in northern Georgia.

Reforestation, which has been carried on extensively throughout the state, has helped reduce runoff on eroded lands. It has also stimulated the growth of the wood pulp and paper industry in the state. The Georgia forestry commission and the United States Forest Service are the two principal agencies active in the conservation of Georgia’s forest resources. The commission operates tree nurseries where pine seedlings are raised for use in both public and private reforestation programs throughout the state. In addition, a number of timber companies have carried out extensive reforestation programs.

The Georgia game and fish commission is responsible for the protection and development of wildlife resources in the state. The commission operates a system of game management areas where hunting and fishing are regulated to help protect the state’s wildlife.

In 2008 the state had 15 hazardous waste sites on a national priority list for cleanup due to their severity or proximity to people. Between 1995 and 2000, the amount of toxic chemicals discharged into the environment increased by 2 percent. "Georgia" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia

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