Environment, News

In One Week, Georgia’s Timber Damage Estimate More Than Doubles To About $763M

A 20‐year‐old, heavily thinned, loblolly pine stand in Early County suffered more than 50 percent wind damage. The stand, or group of trees, was thinned within two years of Hurricane Michael. Any salvage cut will involve removal of leaning and broken trees. This stand will require a salvage clear‐cut and replanting.
A 20‐year‐old, heavily thinned, loblolly pine stand in Early County suffered more than 50 percent wind damage. The stand, or group of trees, was thinned within two years of Hurricane Michael. Any salvage cut will involve removal of leaning and broken trees. This stand will require a salvage clear‐cut and replanting.
Credit GEORGIA FORESTRY COMMISSION

Hurricane Michael is continuing to have a severe impact on Georgia’s timber industry.

The latest damage estimate has more than doubled from last week’s numbers.

About a week ago, Georgia Forestry Commission officials estimated the state’s timber loss at more than $374 million.

At the time, the state forestry commission’s director, Chuck Williams, called it a huge setback.

“For a lot of our farmers over the years, their timber holdings have been sort of their safety net,” he said. “If they had a tough year or two in farming, they would always have that timber asset to fall back on if they needed it … sort of like an emergency account in the bank.”

Now, the damage estimate is at more than $762 million.

Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black, who also released the latest data, calls the assessment “unfortunate” for the state’s forestry community.

“This number went in the wrong direction and will undoubtedly have a significant impact on the industry for years to come,” he said, in a statement. “As more information continues to be gathered regarding Hurricane Michael’s impact on Georgia’s diverse agricultural economy, we will continue to pray and work for all the communities impacted by this catastrophic storm.”

Georgia is one of the top states in the nation for timber exports.

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