Southern Pine Beetle
The amount of SPB caused tree mortality in the FY 1999 - 2002 was staggering; losses were in excess of $1.5 billion across the South. There were concerns about increased fire hazard from so many dead trees (good fuel) and public safety (from falling trees & fire). Many infestations went uncontrolled due to the lack of markets for the beetle-killed timber. At the request of Congress, a comprehensive strategy was prepared to address the SPB problem. Reducing stand stress through good forest management is a key feature of this plan. While populations are down region-wide, Forest Service and state cooperators are concentrating their efforts on prevention activities that will help reduce SPB losses, reduce fire risk, and increase the resiliency of treated stands. Forest management activities to reduce SPB risk were accomplished on more than 152,000 acres through the $14 million in FY 2005 prevention/suppression/ restoration funding. Other funded accomplishments include education efforts, and identifying and prioritizing areas with the greatest need for treatment.
- A comprehensive strategy of prevention/suppression/restoration is being implemented to address southern pine beetles in the southeastern US.
- In FY 2005, SPB populations were very low throughout the Southeast; the most severely affected areas were National Forests in Mississippi and private lands in Alabama.
- In FY 2005, Forest Health Protection funded SPB suppression, prevention and restoration projects on State and private lands (134,069 acres) and NFS lands (18,088 acres) in AL, AR, FL, GA, KY, LA, MS, NC, OK, SC, TN, TX, and VA.
- In FY 2006, SPB activity is expected to remain low. Moderate activity is expected in Alabama and Mississippi. In FY 2006: Suppression, prevention and restoration treatments are expected to take place on 21,000 acres of NFS lands and 120,000 acres of State and private lands.
- FY 2007: Continue suppression, prevention and restoration projects on 71,428 acres on the highest priority NFS and State and private lands.