Land Use Policy

The Georgia Conservancy is committed to sustaining the long-term biological integrity of Georgia’s natural areas.  Georgia harbors many unique and rare ecosystems. It is critical that we recognize the importance of these ecosystems and the role they play in sustaining other vital natural resources, their public use and aesthetic value, and simply, their intrinsic value.

Georgia has experienced, and will continue to experience, rapid economic growth.  As the state continues to grow, a consequence of that growth will be a demand to develop more of our state’s dwindling natural areas.  The Georgia Conservancy must advance the belief that the economic vitality of the state will ultimately rely on the proper management of our natural resources to maintain the quality of life we have grown to cherish.

Our objectives can best be met by forming partnerships with public and private agencies to cooperate in the following activities:
  • Identify critical natural areas.
  • Set priorities to protect these areas.
  • Establish effective implementation strategies.
The following principles will guide these activities:
  • Natural areas commonly extend beyond local and regional political boundaries.  The state, as well as local governments, must develop conservation strategies that deal with protecting natural areas at the local, state, and even regional level to address fully the need for comprehensive, region wide, natural area protection.
  • An integrated approach to land use planning is needed that recognizes the demands of economic realities in Georgia as well as the need for proactive policies that will protect natural areas.
  • Economic considerations:
  1. True environmental costs of land use decisions must be incorporated within any environmental policy decision and;
  2. True economic benefits of natural areas must also be incorporated. 

Guiding Principles – The Georgia Conservancy Strategic Plan 2002-2004

  • The integrity of natural systems – air, land, water and the plants and animals they support – has value that must be protected, conserved and restored for present and future generations.
  • Stewardship of Georgia’s natural resources is the responsibility of every individual, organization, government and business.
  • A healthy environment is integral to a healthy economy.
  • In protecting Georgia’s natural resources, we must champion the environment while respecting the demands of social and economic progress.
  • Principled advocacy calls for scientifically sound research, clearly defined agendas, inclusive participation, informed environmental education and constructive negotiation.