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Forestry officials complete initial forestry damage survey
September 10, 2008
Forestry officials are conducting aerial assessments of timber in the areas ravaged by Hurricane Gustav, Commissioner of Agriculture and Forestry Mike Strain, D.V.M., said today.
Strain said the United States Forest Service used a computer model to draw a preliminary map of areas damaged by the storm.
The map categorized damage ranging from light, moderate to severe. After LDAF foresters did the initial aerial survey, they found the map needed to be revised to reflect a larger area that sustained moderate damage than originally thought by the U.S. Forest Service.
"It is critical that these damage maps properly reflect the amount of timber damage these areas actually suffered," Strain said. "They will be used by the U.S. Forest Service to determine the amount of disaster funds the state may be eligible to receive."
Wade Dubea, LDAF state forester, said hardwoods have a shallow root system and tend to be wind thrown. Pine trees usually snap at the crown because of their deep tap root, he added.
"The amount of rain the storm dumped created a soggy ground, and coupled with the high winds, contributed to the large number of wind-thrown hardwoods and snapped pine trees throughout the storm-damaged areas," Dubea said.
Strain said the LDAF will continue to monitor the timber situation over the next month by conducting aerial assessments.
"We’ll learn more as the dead trees begin turning brown," Strain said. "LDAF foresters will be available to work with landowners to tweak management plans for their property."
For more information, landowners may contact their local LDAF district forestry office or the main office at 225-925-4500. Other important updates will be available at www.ldaf.state.la.us.
For the latest information on Hurricanes Gustav and Ike, you can visit emergency.louisiana.gov or call the state’s emergency hotline at 1-866-288-2484 to listen to a recorded message with the most up-to-date information.