The tornados that devastated parts of East Alabama on March 3 caused numerous fatalities and injuries, while creating massive destruction of property. In addition to this heartbreaking loss of lives and homes, there was also significant damage to forestland. The Alabama Forestry Commission’s assessment of timber damage from the storm determined that a combined 5,888 forested acres were damaged in Macon, Lee, and Barbour counties, with 149,130 tons of timber destroyed at a value of $3,369,071 million.
Adding insult to injury, these forest landowners impacted by the tornado may also encounter higher costs for heavy site preparation. With the excessive amount broken limbs, fallen trees, as well as non-forest debris on the property, site preparation will be extensive, thus increasing the cost of cleanup. There is also a cost for artificial regeneration or replanting of the site. The average total cost for site preparation and replanting a stand is estimated at approximately $425 per acre or $2,502,400 for the 5,888 forested acres impacted by the tornado.
With the value of damaged forestland and the cost for site restoration, the total estimated loss to affected landowners is $5,871,471. The complete report is located on the Alabama Forestry Commission (AFC) website at www.forestry.alabama.gov.
To reduce the fuel load that could contribute to destructive wildfires as well as potential bark beetle outbreaks, it is important for forest landowners to salvage their damaged timber as soon as possible. They should visit their local USDA service center to learn about cost-share assistance that may be available. More information on considerations when selling your timber is located on the AFC website, as well as contact information for your county forester.
The mission of the Alabama Forestry Commission is to protect and sustain Alabama’s forest resources using professionally applied stewardship principles and education, ensuring that the state’s forests contribute to abundant timber and wildlife, clean air and water, and a healthy economy.