(10/22/21) AMITE CITY, La. — Forestry landowners will have the opportunity to hear from experts on the options available to help them recover from damage caused by Hurricane Ida.
The meeting is scheduled for Nov. 18 from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the Spring Creek Milling Building in Kentwood, Louisiana.
More than 168,000 acres were affected by the storm, and economic losses of more than $300 million have been estimated by economists with the LSU AgCenter and the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry.
Whitney Wallace, LSU AgCenter forestry agent, said representatives from federal and state agencies will be there to provide some insight on programs that may provide financial assistance to landowners.
Wallace also said experts from private industry will offer advice regarding insurance claims and tax questions related to losses brought on by the storm.
Forest landowners in the Florida Parishes have endured a series of major hurricanes going back to Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Recovering from Ida, though, may be more difficult.
“The dynamics are completely different,” Wallace said. “We don’t have as many loggers in the area anymore. We have a lack of mills, and the market is considerably less than it was 16 years ago.”
Because the area is running a surplus of nearly 30 inches of rain, many of the trees were blown over by the winds of Ida. Salvaging any of the timber will be a tall task.
“You have trees still attached to the root balls,” said Randy Pellichino, a forestry consultant in the area. “It makes it very hard to go out and get them pulled out of the ground. It’s just very difficult from a logging standpoint.”
Pellichino said many loggers are reluctant to salvage timber because it is more difficult on their equipment and production is lower.
Most of the damaged timber occurred in pine stands, but along creek beds and rivers, many hardwoods fell. Some rivers in the area are designated scenic rivers by the state, and it may prove too difficult to salvage timber in or near these waterbodies.
“There are special rules and regulations as far as harvesting within a 100-foot buffer along a scenic river,” said Royce Allen, another forestry consultant in the area. “So, in most cases, I doubt much of that is going to be salvaged.”
According to Pellichino, the prices paid for salvaged timber are much lower than standing timber.
“Your bigger logs, you might can get a couple of dollars per ton for them,” he said. “In a stand, you should get three times what you would get right now from your salvaged prices.”
Wallace said the forestry economy was suffering before Ida came ashore, and the storm magnified existing issues.
“A lot of these factors go back to the fact we had a problem before Ida,” Wallace said. “And with Ida and the damage of the timber on the ground, it just made the problem a little more complicated.”
Other topics to be addressed at the meeting are cost-sharing programs to help replant damaged areas as well as income tax deductions for storm-damaged timber.
RSVP is required as capacity is limited to 100 participants. Social distancing and other COVID guidelines will be followed. To register for the meeting, contact Whitney Wallace at firstname.lastname@example.org or 985-748-9381.
A root ball of a pine tree blown over by the winds of Hurricane Ida lays in a timber stand in Tangipahoa Parish. A forestry forum will be held on Nov. 18 at the Spring Creek Milling Building in Kentwood, Louisiana, beginning at 9 a.m. to discuss recovery options for forest landowners that suffered damage from the storm. Photo by Craig Gautreaux/LSU AgCenter
A timber stand in Tangipahoa Parish shows the damage brought about by Hurricane Ida. Forestry economists estimate the storm caused more than $300 million of losses to forest landowners in Louisiana. A forum to discuss landowner options will be held Nov. 18 at the Spring Creek Milling Building in Kentwood, Louisiana, beginning at 9 a.m. Photo by Craig Gautreaux/LSU AgCenter