The issue: State Forestry Commission seeks to save pine forests.

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Our take: Landowners should work toward getting financial assistance.

Landowners in Dallas County may take part in a program that provides financial incentives to help them protect pin forests from bark beetle attacks. The money is designed to offset some of the costs of southern pine beetle prevention measures.

The southern pine beetle is one of the most destructive forest insect in the South. And, with the drought in Alabama, an outbreak is almost certain. Trees of all sizes are attacked but those larger than 6 inches usually get infested first.

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Alabama usually sees attacks by seven generations a year. An infestation of southern pine beetles can cost a landowner enough timber to ruin retirement or a college education for the children.

But federal funds from the U.S. Forest Service and administered by the Alabama Forestry Commission are available. Landowners have until Dec. 21 to apply for the program.

To apply for funding, Dallas County landowners should call Dallas County Forester Tom Lang at 875-7131 or e-mail him at

After all, epidemic populations of the beetle occur every year in Alabama.

The long-term goal of this program is to reduce the susceptibility of Alabama forests to future outbreaks.

Landowners need to check out the program.