Funds open to area farmers in beetle fight
Published 12:00 am Monday, January 12, 2004
Financial assistance to forest landowners in Alabama to protect their pine forests from bark beetle attacks is available through Jan. 30. Funding for the program comes from the U.S. Forest Service through the Alabama Forestry Commission and is intended for qualified private landowners who have completed approved Southern pine beetle prevention practices.
These practices include:
First thinning of younger loblolly or shortleaf pine stands at least 10 acres in size, with a Southern pine beetle hazard score of 100 or more, or more than 500 trees per acre, and 7-16 years of age. Incentive costs will be reimbursed to the landowner at the rate of $55 per acre, up to $5,000 per landowner per year.
First thinning of older loblolly or shortleaf pine stands at least 10 acres in size, with a Southern pine beetle hazard score of 100 or more, and 17+ years of age. Incentive costs will be reimbursed to the landowner at the rate of $35 per acre, up to $5,000 per landowner per year.
The Southern pine beetle Prevention Signup-Agreement Form must be received or postmarked by Jan. 30, with applicants receiving notice of acceptance or rejection along with program guidelines by March 15. If accepted all thinning practices must be completed and invoices received by Sept. 15.
The Southern pine beetle is the number one killer of pines in Alabama, and unmanaged and overcrowded stands of loblolly and shortleaf pines are especially susceptible to attack. Alabama has experienced epidemic populations of the beetles in eight of the last 10 years. If uncontrolled, such populations may devastate entire forests causing millions of dollars in damage.
To apply for funding or for further information on the program, contact Dallas County Forester Tom Lang at (334) 875-7131.