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.

Monday, October 10

MS Forestry Commission Reports Trees Take a $2.4 Billion Hit from Katrina

Hurricane Katrina caused significant damage to timber growing on 1.3 million acres of forestland in Mississippi, according to a damage assessment report released by the Mississippi Forestry Commission (MFC). The report also includes tree damage found in 181 Mississippi cities and communities, with the combined value of timber and tree damage estimated at $2.4 billion.

The volume of commercial timber damaged consists of 14.6 million cords of pulpwood and 3.2 billion board feet of sawtimber. The estimated value of the damaged timber is $1.3 billion.

According to the report, 38 counties received varying degrees of timber damage, but the greatest impact occurred in the coastal counties northward to the Laurel area in Jones County. Significant pine damage was found in Hancock, Harrison and Pearl River counties. Hardwood timber along streams and rivers was also significantly damaged.

The MFC estimates more than 2.7 million trees found in the 181 cities and communities were damaged. The economic impact of the urban tree damage is estimated at $1.1 billion.

In a related item, concerns about the impact of Hurricane Katrina on Mississippi forest landowners was the focus of a hearing held recently in Washington, D.C. A panel of forestry leaders testified before the U.S. House of Representative's Subcommittee on Forests and Forest Health. The title of the hearing was "The Federal Role in Recovery After Catastrophic Events Affecting Forest Lands."

Everard Baker, interim state forester at the MFC, offered testimony about the wildfire danger created by Katrina. Baker said there is a serious risk of wildfires in the counties of South Mississippi created by broken and uprooted trees and other storm debris. He said providing wildfire protection on the forestlands of Mississippi is a top priority of the MFC.

Baker also discussed the impact of the hurricane on the private forest landowners in South Mississippi.


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