October 14, 2009

State of Alabama
Press Release: Forestry Commission, Alabama

Financial Assistance Available to Prevent Southern Pine Beetle Damage

Financial incentives are available for a limited time to help forest landowners in Alabama protect pine forests from bark beetle attacks. In the short term, these incentives are designed to offset some of the costs of Southern Pine Beetle (SPB) prevention measures. The long-term goal is to reduce the susceptibility of Alabama forests to future SPB outbreaks.                                     

Federal funds from the U.S. Forest Service, administered by the Alabama Forestry Commission (AFC), will be awarded to qualified private landowners, once the approved thinning practices are completed. The deadline to apply for this program is November 6, 2009.

Southern pine beetle is the number one killer of pines in Alabama, with unmanaged and overcrowded stands of loblolly and shortleaf pines susceptible to attack. Epidemic populations of this bark beetle occur virtually every year in Alabama. Expanding populations, if not controlled, may devastate entire forests causing millions of dollars in damage.

            Thinning of dense, slow-growing pine stands will stimulate growth and vigor in young stands and reduce the SPB hazard. To qualify for federal funds, your pine stand must have an SPB hazard rating from medium to very high, and written approval must be received from the Alabama Forestry Commission before beginning a thinning practice. Priority ranking will be given to landowners who have not participated in forestry cost-share programs, stands with a very high SPB hazard rating, or tracts located within a mile of a National Forest in Alabama.

Certain program guidelines must be met when implementing thinning activities. The thinning practices and other requirements for these incentive funds include:

·         Pre-commercial Thinning – this practice is for pre-merchantable loblolly or shortleaf pine stands 5-12 years old, with an average diameter (DBH) of less than 5 inches and stocking greater than 600 stems per acre.

·         First Thinning – this practice is for commercial thinning of merchantable loblolly or shortleaf pine stands which are overstocked and have a high SPB hazard rating and are at least 10 acres in size.

·         Cost shares to the landowner will be 75 percent of costs, not to exceed $100 per acre for Pre-commercial Thinning, $50 per acre for First Thinning, and $20 per acre for Borax stump application, not to exceed a maximum cap of $6,000 per landowner per fiscal year.

To apply for funding, contact your county Alabama Forestry Commission office. If you are unsure of your local office’s address or phone number, look on the Commission’s website: www.forestry.alabama.gov and select the county where your property is located to access the AFC office information. Alternatively, you may contact the state Landowner Assistance Forester, Arthur Hitt, at (334) 240-9323.

The SPB Prevention Application form must be completed and submitted by November 6, 2009. Applicants will receive notice of acceptance or rejection, along with further program guidelines, by December 20, 2009. If accepted, all thinning practices must be completed according to program guidelines, and invoices received at the local AFC office by September 17, 2010.

 



  • For more information, visit http://forestry.alabama.gov
  • For more state-wide press releases, click here