Sandra Cummings is an African American woman who is a component proprietor of two forested landscapes in Georgia. Her to start with residence, 325 acres of land with a house in the metropolis of Madison, was handed down by her maternal great-grandmother, who was born a slave. The next assets is made up of 165 acres of land in the town of Portal, which was passed down by her paternal grandfather.
To guarantee that the family’s ancestral land continues to be intact, Mrs. Cummings and her family members made a decision to put it into an irrevocable have confidence in to stop their young children and grandchildren from dividing and selling it. “You see, they did not increase up in the grime like we did,” she stated. “We grew up functioning individuals farmlands, picking cotton, tobacco, planting watermelon. We ended up in a position to see the advantages of possessing this land. My small children and grandchildren did not.”
Mrs. Cummings desired to stimulate prolonged-expression stewardship of her land, and sought out sources to aid attain this goal. Amadou Diop, an Atlanta-primarily based outreach liaison for the US Forest Service, aided Mrs. Cummings discover information and facts about forest management and stewardship strategies.
“If it was not for Amadou’s prosperity of expertise, willingness to enable persons, and placing me in touch with the methods specifically, I would have never ever been ready to get any of this performed,” reported Mrs. Cummings. “He designed guaranteed that I was taken care of, and he warrants a ton of credit history.”
The Forest Service’s Forest Stewardship Application encourages lengthy-expression stewardship of significant condition and private forest landscapes by helping landowners to much more actively regulate their forests and related means. The Forest Assistance helped Mrs. Cummings by way of a forest administration and stewardship prepare established by the Ga Forestry Commission, which laid out a 10-year program for controlling the land.
Beneath the plan’s guidance, Mrs. Cummings now utilizes the land in Madison for timber management, grazing for cattle, and wildlife habitat. She manages the land in Portal for forestry, wildlife, silvopasture (with help from the NRCS), and a pine straw procedure. As a end result, she obtains further earnings from her land by leasing it out for deer looking and harvesting pine straw.
She is taking pleasure in the added benefits of being a forest landowner.
“One of the benefits for me is the excess profits from the pine straw operation —extra income is constantly superior, you know,” she stated.
“It also provides you some self-sufficiency,” she continued. “I will say this: if a little something had been to occur in Atlanta—where we are dwelling now, then we constantly have a position to go. If we desired to create a further dwelling or something….we can do it! So both lands give us some balance.”
Mrs. Cummings intends for her family’s legacy to proceed. She hopes to renovate her parents’ residence into a historic website and to create a walking trail for attendees, and she is discovering the opportunity for photo voltaic electric power generation on her house in Portal.