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Forest Health Highlights - 1999


The Arkansas Forestry Commission provides forest health protection assistance to state and private land managers within the State.  The State and the USDA Forest Service Forest Health Protection unit fund this program cooperatively.

Arkansas Forest Type Distributions

Arkansas Forest Facts

*  Over 50% of Arkansas is forested (more than 18.3 million acres).

*  Over 90% of forested acreage in Arkansas is privately owned.

*  The Ouachita and Ozark–St. Francis National Forests (2.3 million acres) provide recreational and wildlife benefits as well as forest products and jobs for thousands of people.

*  In 1999, red oak decline and mortality was severe on thousands of acres in north and central Arkansas, following a second year of intense drought.  Red oak borers, Armillaria root rot, and Hypoxylon canker were associated with the mortality.

*  Southern pine beetle (SPB) is Arkansas’ most important forest pest.  However, SPB populations were undetectable during 1999.  A significant outbreak has not affected the state since 1995-96.  The outlook for 2000 is for low population levels to continue.

*  The variable oak leaf caterpillar caused localized defoliation, of several thousand acres in Columbia and Ouachita counties. Periodic outbreaks may lead to some growth loss, but tree mortality rarely occurs.

*  An isolated gypsy moth infestation was identified in north central Arkansas in 1992.  A cooperative gypsy moth eradication project involved participation by the Arkansas State Plant Board, Arkansas Forestry Commission, and USDA Forest Service.  Over 43,000 acres were treated with aerial applications of a biological insecticide and after three years of post-treatment trapping, it now appears that the infestation has been successfully eradicated.  Delimiting trapping continues in Carroll, Marion, and Newton counties to ensure any resurgence is detected.  

*  In 2000, the Arkansas Forestry Commission in cooperation with USDA Forest Service Research and Forest Health Protection will participate in the Forest Health Monitoring Program.  This program is designed to annually collect, analyze, interpret and report on the conditions of the forests in Arkansas.

The Arkansas Forestry Commission and
USDA Forest Service

In spite of the relatively good health of Arkansas’ forests, a variety of insects and diseases (both native and introduced), and human-caused impacts such as air pollution, continue to threaten the State’s resources.  To deal with this constantly changing mix of challenges, the Forestry Commission and the Forest Health Protection unit of the USDA Forest Service cooperate to prevent, detect, suppress and manage this multitude of threats.  The partnership between the two agencies has worked for three decades to maintain and improve the health of Arkansas’ forests. 

Forest Health Protection contributions (dollars) to Arkansas Forestry Commission Cooperative Forest Health program, cooperative pest suppression/eradication projects, and Ouachita National Forest suppression projects, 1997-2000.





Cooperative Forest Health Program





  Forest Health Monitoring





Cooperative suppression

  Southern pine beetle





  Gypsy moth eradication





Ouachita National Forest

  Southern pine beetle






For additional information, contact:

Arkansas Forestry Commission (or)    USDA Forest Service
3821 W Roosevelt Road    Forest Health Protection
Little Rock, AR 72204    2500 Shreveport Highway
(501) 296-1940    Pineville, LA 71360
E-mail: jim.northum@mail.state.ar.us   (318) 473-7286
http://www.forestry.state.ar.us/    E-mail: Alexandria Field Office