Community Forest

What is a Community Forest?
Within the United States, community forests originated in New England, only recently spreading to the Southeast. According to the Community Forest Collaborative, a community forest project "secures access and rights to the forest resource at the community level; it promotes community participation in management decisions; it ensures that communities receive value and benefits from the land that can support and reinforce community priorities and economic development objectives; and it secures permanent protection of the conservation values of the forestland" (Lyman 2007).

In a recent review of 32 community forest case studies, 25 projects were in the North and Southeast, and 23 projects were on forest tracts of less than 1,000 acres, making the McIntosh S.E.E.D. Project one of the largest (Cook 2014).

McIntosh S.E.E.D. Community Forest History
McIntosh S.E.E.D., a grassroots nonprofit organization in Georgia, purchased 1,148 acres of land situated in Georgia's southern coastal plain, with the goal of designating it as the McIntosh S.E.E.D. Community Forest. The property is under a conservation easement and was purchased in February 2015. The purchase was made possible through partnerships with the The Conservation Fund's (TCF's) Resourceful Communities and the Fort Stewart Military Base located in Hinesville, Georgia.

This project fits within McIntosh S.E.E.D.'s mission to "strengthen low-wealth families and improve neglected rural communities through asset-based economic development, education reform, empowerment, and environmental preservation". Our vision is to empower underserved communities to make decisions about the management of the forest. The forest will feature demonstrations of working lands conservation, thereby enhancing local food-or forest-related businesses and markets to improve the likelihood of both conservation and financial success.

The motivation behind the community forest is founded in the historical lack of access to public conservation programs and services by socially disadvantaged and limited-resource producers; the effect of which is the conversion of high value natural resource lands (e.g., wetlands, riparian buffers) to small working lands that are not competitive for conservation dollars due to their size or low market value.

Community Forest Location
The McIntosh S.E.E.D. Community Forest is located in Long County, Georgia on Rye Patch Road and Banks Pasture Road just outside of Ludowici, Georgia and 30 minutes west of Hinesville, Georgia. The McIntosh S.E.E.D. Community Forest is surrounded by four neighboring counties, Tattnall, Liberty, Wayne, and McIntosh which are all within a 30-mile radius of the property.

Current and Future Activities for the Community Forest
    Sustainable Timber Harvests

    Longleaf, Slash, and Loblolly Tree Replanting Projects

    Annual Hunting Lease Agreement for Local Hunting Clubs

    Construction of Nature Trails


    Sweetgrass Cultivation for Basket Weaving


Wildlife Inhabitants and Bird Species in the Community Forest
    White-Tailed Deer

    Wild Turkeys

    Feral Hogs






Over 40 different species of birds have been observed out on the property. The most common species were the Chipping Sparrow, Eastern Towhee, Hermit Thrush, Pine Warbler, and the Brown-headed Nuthatch. In addition to these common bird species, three different types of woodpeckers have been observed along with Red-Shouldered Hawks, Wood ducks, and Canada geese.

List of Partnerships with the McIntosh S.E.E.D. Community Forest
  • The Conservation Fund
  • The Turner Foundation
  • Georgia Land Trust
  • Natural Resources Conservation Services (NRCS)
  • The Longleaf Alliance
  • James Resource Management, LLC
  • The Georgia Forestry Commission
  • U.S. Partners for Fish and Wildlife
  • Fort Stewart Military Base
  • Resourceful Communities

> Click for Video: McSEED Community Forest

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McIntosh SEED • P. O. Box 2355 • Darien, GA • Phone: 912-437-7821 • Fax: 912-437-4271 • Email