Commercial timber and forest damage associated with Hurricane Gustav in 2008 was neither as widespread nor as acute as was damage associated with Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005. Estimates show this year’s damage at about $92 million (8.4 percent of anticipated annual production value). Damage related to Gustav was confined mainly to the south-central portion of the state, particularly to the hardwood bottomland forests in the southern and south-central parishes along the Mississippi River and the mixed pine/hardwood and pine plantation forests in western portions of the Florida parishes.
Sporadic downed timber in central Louisiana also resulted from Gustav’s winds. Stumpage prices already are depressed as a result of the U.S. housing market slump. With the addition of salvage timber in affected areas, prices are likely to be even more depressed, particularly for hardwood. Salvage itself also will be a problem because of depressed markets resulting in much lower demand for wood than in typical years. In addition, hurricane-damaged trees and downed trees resulting from storm damage are much more expensive to remove from sites, increasing logging and processing costs.