USDA Forest Service
Heidi Valetkevitch, 202-205-1134
FUNDS RELEASED FOR INSECT SUPPRESSION
WASHINGTON, March 22, 2001 --
Emergency pest suppression funds totaling nearly
$12.5 million have been released to the USDA Forest
Service to protect forests from insect and disease
outbreaks on federal, state, and private lands.
Insects and diseases have vigorously attacked
privately owned forests as well as forests managed
by state and federal governments, and these funds
will be used for priority actions to suppress the
outbreaks on these lands, protecting forests, water,
and wildlife, according to Mike Dombeck, Chief
of the Forest Service.
Native insects and diseases are natural and
part of the ecosystem according to Robert
Mangold, director of the Forest Services Forest
Health Protection staff. There are, however,
times when the effects of these disturbances prevent
other important management objectives from being
reached, and suppression is necessary.
Priority will be placed on several areas of the
United States: The South, central Rocky Mountains/Great
Plains area, and the Pacific Northwest.
A total of $6.5 million is targeted at the southern
pine beetle, which has infested portions of eight
states in the South: Alabama, Florida, Kentucky,
Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee,
and Virginia. Dombeck said the situation is especially
serious in Alabama. Without control, he said, the
infestations can kill $200 million worth of trees,
and can increase flooding and fire risk, as well
as the degradation of wildlife habitat, especially
for the red-cockaded woodpecker, an endangered species.
In the Rocky Mountain/Great Plains area, $2.2 million
will be aimed at spruce beetle and mountain pine
beetle in Colorado, South Dakota, and Wyoming.
A total of $2.25 million will be used to suppress
Douglas-fir tussock moth in the Pacific Northwest.
This moth is causing widespread defoliation and
death of trees. The outbreak began suddenly last
year, Dombeck said, and added that forest pest professionals
anticipate the outbreak will cover up to 700,000
acres in eastern Washington and Oregon in the next
3 to 4 years.