Georgia is experiencing a movement of population from cities and towns into forest and farmland. This change in land use has brought a diverse range of challenges to foresters and other natural resource managers and has created a landscape known as the wildland-urban interface (WUI).
The urbanization of the rural landscape has resulted in challenges for protecting not only natural resources, but also homes and people. Communities in the WUI are at risk of catastrophic wildfire, and their presence disrupts the ecology. Though people can never fully protect their homes against wildfires, you can take steps to reduce the risk.
Current issues in the wildland-urban interface include:
Communities in the WUI are at risk of catastrophic wildfire and their presence disrupts the ecology.
Loss of tree cover in Georgia is affecting water quality in the interface due to increased erosion and sedimentation, stormwater run-off, and rising water temperatures.
Rapid unplanned growth can radically change the landscape of an area. Tree cover loss and land fragmentation are challenges being encountered by forest managers in the WUI.
Traditional solutions to problems such as insect infestations and stormwater run-off are difficult to apply as tree cover is lost and land is fragmented into smaller units with greater numbers of owners. Land-use planning with trees in mind is vital to the sustainability of a community.
Biodiversity refers to the variety of organisms found within a specified geographic region. It can be a measure of the health of a population or ecosystem. The effects of development on biodiversity in the WUI have yet to be scientifically validated.
It is accepted, though, that most threats to biodiversity arise from human activity. Habitat loss, or destruction, and the introduction of non-native, exotic species are two issues currently affecting biodiversity in the WUI.