Hurricane Katrina Forest Recovery

As we work together to tackle the historic challenge that Hurricane Katrina has presented to the forestry communities of Mississippi, Louisiana, and Alabama, we hope that this blog will be a valuable resource and tool.

Tuesday, September 20

Initial USDA Forest Service Hurricane Katrina Damage Estimates

Scientists from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service have found that approximately 19 billion board feet of timber spread over five million acres in Mississippi, Louisiana and Alabama have been destroyed as a result of Hurricane Katrina.

"While this early assessment suggests a potential significant loss of timber, the next step will be to determine what is salvageable," said Forest Service chief Dale Bosworth. "Recovering the useable timber will help to diminish the economic loss as well as to prevent damage from insects and disease and to reduce the risk of fires."

If removed quickly, storm-damaged wood can be salvageable for various products. According to Forest Service researchers, down and damaged trees can be sufficient to produce 800,000 single-family homes and 25 million tons of paper and paperboard.

The initial assessment indicates that the damaged timber is on both public and private land. However, the majority of the affected forestland is under private ownership, with one-third of the damaged timber concentrated in eight South Mississippi counties. Nearly 90% of affected forestland is within 60 miles of the Gulf Coast, predominantly in Mississippi.

Nearly 60% of the damage occurred to softwoods, predominately pines, with the remainder occurring to hardwoods.


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