Hurricane Ida made landfall with lashing rain and fierce gusts on Sunday, Aug. 29, 2021 — 16 years after Hurricane Katrina made landfall in Louisiana. The storm brought severe damage to the region’s timber industry, destroying 167,622 acres of forestland in 11 parishes. An estimated 181 million cubic feet of timber were affected, including 86 million cubic feet of pine timber and 95 million cubic feet of hardwood timber. The highest timber volume losses were in Tangipahoa (88 million cubic feet) and Livingston (33 million cubic feet) parishes.
Using the second-quarter average timber stumpage prices from the Louisiana Quarterly Report of Forest Products, the value of total damage was estimated at $316 million, with $130.5 million in losses attributed to pine timber and $185.5 million in losses attributed to hardwood timber. The short-term losses were felt unevenly across Louisiana. Tangipahoa Parish had timber damage amounting to $147 million, which was almost equally distributed between pine timber ($74 million) and hardwood timber ($73 million). Livingston Parish had the second-highest economic loss at $66 million. For more information on detailed hurricane damage report, visit www.lsuagcenter.com.
Salvage logging is a common way to get the most monetary value out of downed timber. However, Tropical Storm Nicholas came just two weeks after Hurricane Ida and added more water to these areas, making the salvage harvest more difficult. Tons of timber had to be left to rot, significantly raising concerns about the risk of forest fires.
As of Oct. 28, 2021, Federal Disaster Assistance in Louisiana exceeded $2 billion according to FEMA’s website. Disaster survivors have received more than $889 million in federal grants and have been approved for more than $816 million in low-interest loans to enhance their recovery. Another $297 million has been paid to survivors in National Flood Insurance Program claims. See the FEMA press release at https://www.fema.gov/press-release/20211028/federal-disaster-assistance-louisiana-exceeds-2-billion-two-months-after.
The LSU AgCenter and the LSU College of Agriculture