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(PCC) The program on Chinese Cities – Academic Salon

Date: 04/19/2024,  12:00 pm to 1:00 pm EST

Speaker: Lance Gloss

Program Manager at the Conservation Fund & Expert in Natural Resource Economics

On April 19, 2024, scholars and experts gathered for an enlightening lecture titled “Activating the Natural Resource Economy in the Okefenokee Region of Southeast Georgia.” This live event delved into the intricate relationship between conservation efforts, economic development, and land use in this ecologically rich area.

The Okefenokee Swamp serves not only as an economic cornerstone but also as a vital haven for biodiversity in rural southeast Georgia. Its value extends beyond the economic realm, with its potential as a titanium dioxide mine site drawing widespread attention locally and nationally. Against this backdrop, the Conservation Fund (TCF) collaborates closely with local stakeholders to protect the region’s natural resources while promoting sustainable economic growth.


Image 1: Lecture Venue


The lecture, hosted by renowned scholars, explored various factors shaping the region’s development trajectory. Key topics included the role of organizations such as the Greater Okefenokee Landowners Association and the Fire Resilient Buffer Zone Initiative, as well as proposals such as the Okefenokee World Heritage application and the Okefenokee Visitor Experience infrastructure.

Image 2: Linna, Visiting Scholar at the China Urban Studies Center, posing a question during the event


A recent economic impact analysis focusing on ecotourism in the region was particularly highlighted. This comprehensive study not only emphasized the intrinsic value of the Okefenokee Swamp but also laid the groundwork for discussions surrounding its potential designation as a World Heritage Site. Furthermore, it provided a foundation for targeted economic development strategies, focusing on nurturing small businesses, retaining talent, and promoting community reinvestment.

Dr. Lance Gloss, an authority in environmental economics, was one of the key speakers at the lecture. He remarked, “The Okefenokee region stands at the intersection of conservation and economic prosperity. Through collaborative efforts and informed decision-making, we can chart a sustainable path forward, preserving this natural treasure for future generations while unlocking its economic potential.”

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