For a limited time, financial assistance is being offered to help non-industrial private forest landowners protect pine stands from their number one cause of mortality, bark beetle infestation. Approximately $160,000 is allocated for this Southern Pine Beetle (SPB) Prevention cost-share program, which is administered by the Alabama Forestry Commission in partnership with the USDA Forest Service. The program’s main objective is to prevent SPB outbreaks in Alabama forests by helping landowners reduce the susceptibility of their pines to the deadly pests.
Cost-share applications are available at local county offices of the Alabama Forestry Commission (AFC). Interested forest landowners must return completed applications to the local AFC county office by the deadline of Friday, May 30, 2014.
Existing loblolly, shortleaf, or Virginia pine stands that are 10 to 100 acres in size are eligible for an incentive payment under this cost-share program. Forest management activities funded under the program include pre-commercial thinning and prescribed burning of pine stands. The incentive cost is $80 per acre for pre-commercial thinning of overstocked and high SPB hazard pine stands and $10 per acre for understory burning of high SPB hazard pine stands. If a borax treatment is used while conducting a pre-commercial thinning on a pine stand, the incentive cost is $90 per acre. Landowners that apply for the cost-share program must receive pre-approval from the AFC before initiating the management practice.
Southern pine beetles are the primary killer of pines in Alabama, with unmanaged and overcrowded stands of southern pines susceptible to attack. Epidemic populations of this bark beetle occur periodically in the state, destroying hundreds of acres of pines. If not controlled, these expanding populations can devastate entire stands causing millions of dollars in damage.
For additional inquiries, contact AFC Forest Health Coordinator Dana Stone by telephone at (334) 240-9363 or email at Dana.Stone@forestry.alabama.gov.
The mission of the Alabama Forestry Commission is to protect and sustain Alabama’s forest resources using professionally applied stewardship principals and education, ensuring that the state’s forests contribute to abundant timber and wildlife, clean air and water, and a healthy economy. To learn more about the AFC or locate the nearest county office, visit www.forestry.alabama.gov.