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Meet the State Forester: Tim Lowrimore, Georgia

Tim Lowrimore
Georgia State Forester
Georgia Forestry Commission
Meet the State Forester: Tim Lowrimore, Georgia

Our “Meet the State Forester” blog series introduces readers to the southern state foresters who are collectively responsible for leading the conservation, protection and enhancement of more than 245 million forested acres in the U.S. South. This month, we meet Georgia State Forester, Tim Lowrimore.

Tim Lowrimore is a registered forester with the Georgia Board of Foresters who has more than 20 years of forestry and professional experience. Most recently, he served as public affairs manager for Interfor, one of the largest lumber producers in the world. There, he worked with all levels of government regulatory agencies and community and economic development officials to promote and protect operations and sustainability initiatives. Lowrimore was a senior account executive at Davis-Garvin Insurance Agency, servicing a national portfolio of forestry business; resource manager of Eastern Forest Resources at Rayonier; and director of forest policy at the Georgia Forestry Commission, after rising from forester to senior forester at the agency. 

He is a Society of American Foresters Fellow who served on its National Policy Committee for four years, Georgia Forestry Association member, and was Chairman of the Georgia Forestry Foundation in 2016. He serves on the University of Georgia Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources’ Deans Advisory Committee, is a member of UGA’s AGHON society, and is a UGA Warnell Jay Hole Society member and past chair. 

Lowrimore and his wife, Wendi, have two daughters. The family lives in Macon.

What is your agency’s mission statement?

GFC’s mission is to provide leadership, service, and education to protect and conserve Georgia’s forest resources.

Why did you become a forester?

I became a forester by matching my interests with a career as a young college student. This happened through a conversation I had with a friend of the family who was a forester. I was impressed, observing the things he was able to do and accomplish through his work, most of which occurred outdoors. It’s safe to say I became a forester because a forester who was a family friend identified my interests and took it one step further – to have a conversation with me about what it meant to be a forester.

In your opinion, what is the biggest issue impacting forest landowners in your state and across the southern region?

The single largest issue impacting Georgia landowners is their ability to keep working forests as working forests. The long-term nature of managing forests takes resilience and healthy markets. Areas in our state with limited, diverse markets make it challenging for landowners to keep working forests economically sustainable. We continue to support our state’s economic development efforts to attract new markets while supporting our robust existing markets. The evidence is clear. Where strong markets are present, our state’s forest resource is abundant and sustainable.

What is your favorite thing about the forests in your state?

My favorite thing about forests in Georgia is their diverse landscapes. Living in the central part of our state makes it very easy to access the activities offered in the north Georgia mountains, the piedmont of central Georgia, or on the coast of southeast Georgia. Our entire state is blessed with an abundance of pines – which is another personal favorite of mine.

How is forestry important to the economy of your state?

Forestry is critical to our entire state’s economy. The total impact of the forest industry is over $35 billion annually. Georgia is home to more forested acres and privately owned acreage than nearly any other state in the nation. Our state has over 200 primary wood-using manufacturing facilities and 1,100 secondary mills that further convert wood into products such as doors, furniture, paper products and other goods. Georgia is consistently one of the top exporters of wood, forest products and wood pellets. Atlanta is a corporate hub for several of the world’s largest forest product corporations. For many of our rural communities, forestry is the bloodline keeping those communities fed and alive.

What is your favorite thing to do while in the forest?

In the forest, I enjoy hunting for sure. I also enjoy looking for golf balls in the forest (those who know me well know that I enjoy golf and often times my drives go astray).

What are the top five goals for your agency over the next 5-10 years?

The top goals for our agency for the next five years are to be a better leader, create a brighter future and create a bigger vision that our team and state can support. Specifically, we have to improve our recruitment and retention, which have been aggravated by the pandemic and supply chain issues. Our agency serves a great community and offers tremendous rewards to individuals who are interested in protecting and managing forests and public service.

Why are the adoption of forestry Best Management Practices (BMPs) important to your state?

The adoption of forestry BMPs in our state has been a huge success. There’s no question we’ve come a long way in forestry operations to ensure water quality is protected for current and future generations. The partnerships that have been established through the development, implementation and ongoing monitoring of BMPs have been a tremendous success, too. Because of BMPs, Georgia forestland owners, industry partners, loggers, our agency’s water quality team and GFC as a whole have a very strong alignment for protecting clean water in our state.

How is prescribed fire important to the landscape of your state?

Good fires prevent bad ones! Prescribed fire is an important management tool across our forested landscape. GFC encourages prescribed fire and assists many landowners with burning. Over one million acres undergo prescribed fire in Georgia annually. The benefits of fire to our forest landscape are well understood and supported.

What is your favorite tree species?

My favorite tree species is longleaf pine. Its history, beauty and value to ecosystems make it my standout.   

How do partnerships play a role in wildfire response in your state?

Partnerships are integral to our wildfire response in Georgia. Recognizing that it’s a shared responsibility between the state, private forest owners, forest industry, federal partners and local communities ensures swift and tactical wildfire response meets the needs and expectations of our state.

What is your favorite native Georgia animal?


Smokey Bear or Woodsy Owl?

Smokey Bear! Because he’s a cool bear and an icon, and I was able to hang out with him briefly at the Macy’s Day Parade in NYC last year.

What is your agency doing to support the use of trees and forest products as a carbon solution?

We are promoting the utilization of mass timber as a sustainable and environmentally friendly building option. We have a Carbon Advisory Taskforce developing a carbon registry for sustainable building materials. This is the first of its kind in the nation. Our goal is to establish a credible, verifiable and peer-reviewed system that will account for the carbon stored in buildings when developers choose wood over traditional steel or concrete construction. We are planning to have this process in place by the end of 2023.

What is one thing you wish people knew about your agency?

I wish people could know about everything we do! I have been amazed at all of the support and work this agency provides our state. Our team works every day to ensure Georgia forest resources in our state are managed and protected from threats – fire, disease, insects and other risks. We promote the numerous benefits of trees – to the economy, our environment and to personal health. We also answer the call when communities and our state are in their time of greatest need during disaster recovery, pandemics and other major logistical events.

What is the best thing about being the Georgia State Forester?

The greatest thing about being Georgia’s State Forester is the opportunity to serve our state and its forestry community. Being able to promote the work our team does is incredibly rewarding. The best thing about being State Forester is having the platform to “tell our story” by communicating the contributions GFC has made to make forestry in Georgia the powerhouse it is.