USDA Forest Service

Forest Health Protection, Southern Region


USDA Forest Service
Forest Health Protection
Region 8
1720 Peachtree Road, NW
Room 816 N
Atlanta, GA 30309

Phone: (404) 347-7478
Fax: (404) 347-1880

United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service.

USDA Link Forest Service Link


Southern Pine Beetle Prevention

This program is a cornerstone piece to Region 8's effort to institute a comprehensive and integrated approach to managing southern pine beetle (SPB) on Federal, State, and private lands. This program is a welcome paradigm shift in the management of SPB, putting increased emphasis on a proactive IPM approach instead of relying solely on SPB suppression.


  • SPB is the most economically important forest pest in the southern United States.
  • In recent years SPB outbreaks resulted in unprecedented forest losses, estimated to have exceeded $1.5 billion in damage.
  • Over 70% of the pine forests in the South are still considered to be in medium or high SPB hazard categories.
  • Proactive prevention treatments, such as thinning, are known to effectively reduce a SPB hazard and are best implemented in periods between SPB outbreaks.
  • Restoration treatments, such as planting longleaf on appropriate sites, are needed on thousands of acres in the South after the last SPB outbreak.
  • Treatments associated with the SPB Prevention and Restoration Program have multiple benefits, including improving fire condition class, enhancing wildlife habitat, and increasing recreational opportunities.

Project Highlights

  • FHP has distributed nearly $30 million to states and National Forests to accomplish prevention and restoration activities since 2003.
    • In 2004, over 70,000 acres were treated on private (50,000) and NFS (23,000) land.
    • In 2005, nearly 80,000 acres are targeted for treatment on private (60,000) and NFS (18,000) land.
  • FHP has established and strengthened relationships with several partners.
    • FHP has helped develop prevention and restoration programs in all 13 Southern states
      • FHP worked with the states to develop guidelines for states to use as a guide during program development.
      • FHP helped develop cost share programs in 9 states which has helped federal funds reach over 1000 landowners.
      • FHP has been involved with state managed efforts to educate landowners through workshops, publications, and billboards.
    • FHP is working with 12 national forests to reduce SPB hazard on the forests and restore lands recently impacted by SPB.
      • FHP is working with the Regional Forest Management staff unit and NFS personnel to identify regional vegetation management needs related to forest health and fire management.
      • FHP has helped coordinate accomplishment reporting associated with the National Fire Plan and Operations Reporting System (NFPORS).
      • FHP is encouraging the use of HFI-related activities such as stewardship contracting on NFS land.
    • FHP maintains a close working relationship with the Southern Research Station SPB work unit and served on a committee to review and prioritize research projects associated with prevention and restoration related activities.
    • FHP has also worked with the Cooperative Forestry staff unit, National and Southern Groups of State Foresters, and Forest Landowners Association to enhance the effectiveness of this program.
    • FHP is working with a private company, Forest One, in conjunction with several states and FS research to potentially produce more efficient and effective ways to identify hazard areas using satellite imagery.
  • FHP hired an entomologist whose sole responsibility is to administer the program. This entomologist:
    • has regional responsibilities to administer the program and is stationed in Asheville, North Carolina.
    • works directly with the state forestry agencies on their programs.
    • works closely with field office entomologists to identify needs, prioritize treatments, and monitor accomplishments on NFS lands.


  • Tools associated with this program are straight-forward and are proven to be quite effective. However, further research will enhance their effectiveness.
  • This program has identified opportunities for FHP to work more closely with its cooperators in the state forestry agencies and on national forests.
  • Efforts must be made to find ways to accelerate the thinning of older, dense pine stands that can contribute heavily to SPB population growth and spread.
  • FHP must continue to cultivate established partnerships and build new relationships.

Conclusions/Future direction

This program has been fully embraced by our NFS and State cooperators. However, in order to maximize benefits and have area-wide impacts, the program must be maintained and expanded.


More Information

  • Southern Pine Beetle Internet Control Center (Virginia Tech)
  • Southern Pine Beetle Hazard Maps - SPB hazard maps developed by the Forest Health Technology Enterprise Team (FHTET) to identify areas with potential for experiencing significant SPB activity. The regional SPB hazard map, which is a compilation of eight models run across 15 broad ecological zones, includes the Southern Region (Region 8), five mid-Atlantic states, and the District of Columbia. (Links to FHTET)



FHP Contact:

Dr. John Nowak
Forest Service-USDA
200 Weaver Blvd
Asheville, NC 28804
Phone: 828-257-4326



USDA Forest Service - Forest Health Protection, Southern Region
Last Modified: Monday, 16 December 2013 at 14:18:28 CST

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