Forest Products Industry is busy cleaning up and salvaging damaged timber from the hurricane-battered Gulf Coast region.
The forest products industry is busy cleaning up and salvaging damaged timber from the hurricane-battered Gulf Coast region.
The good news is that, in the short term, loggers will have plenty of work. The bad news is that, after salvaging storm-damaged timber, what then?
The region’s forests have been severely damaged. The worst of it appears to be concentrated in southern Mississippi. Softwoods, mostly pines, likely account for the majority of the damaged timber.
In Mississippi alone, Katrina caused an estimated $1.2 billion in damage to timber. In Louisiana, the losses were estimated at $600 million. An estimate of the damage in Alabama was not available, although the damaged forests were estimated at 610,000 acres.
The race already is underway to salvage wood before it is attacked by blue-stain fungus. The fungus does not cause any structural damage, but the colored wood is shunned by builders and it quickly loses value and becomes worthless.
Katrina knocked down or damaged so much timber in Mississippi that much of it will go to waste because there will not be enough loggers to harvest it or sawmill capacity to process it, according to forestry experts.
In Louisiana, storage facilities are quickly filling up with salvage wood that is available for purchase, reports Buck Vandersteen of the Louisiana Forestry Association. Most of the stored material is quality pine saw timber. Storage yards have been established near Bogalusa, La. for rail traffic and near Ponchatula, La. for barge traffic.
The Louisiana Forestry Association is seeking additional loggers and truckers as well as wet storage areas. Companies interested in buying salvaged wood, and loggers or truckers looking for work should call the association’s office at (308) 443-2558.
Loggers who are interested in working under FEMA’s authorized contractors on clean-up work – not salvage timber — in Alabama should contact Ben Turner of Philips and Jordan at (813) 783-1132, and for Mississippi and Louisiana, Terry Jackson of AshBritt Inc. at (954) 545-3585.
In addition, a telephone hotline has been established to register logging contractors who are interested in working in timber recovery and salvage efforts in Mississippi, Louisiana and Alabama. After completing a brief survey, contractors will be added to a database based on availability, equipment, insurance, training, and other factors. The hotline number is (866) 706-8869.
Up to date information also is available on a special page of the Forest Resources Association Web site, which also has direct links to pertinent news in Louisiana and Mississippi; the Web page is: www.forestresources.org/announcements/katrina-updates.html.
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