Local forest landowners are being urged to take advantage of assistance that helps combat the destructive Southern pine beetle.
The Georgia Forestry Commission is offering a number of solutions to battle the pest, which has caused more than $250 million in Georgia timber losses since 1972.
"Forest landowners should contact us now to arrange for any of several services that can improve the health of their stands and increase their value," said James Johnson, Forest Health Coordinator for the forestry commission. "For the seventh consecutive year, we are offering a cost-share program that provides significant assistance for prevention and relief from Southern pine beetle attacks."
April 15 is the deadline for landowners to sign up for the "Southern Pine Beetle Cost-Share Program," according to Johnson.
The program helps fund practices that support forest health, including noncommercial thinning (reducing the number of stems per acre to an optimum level), pine release treatments (removing unwanted hardwoods from the stand and lowering the number of stems per acre), prescribed burning, Southern pine beetle infestation treatments and replanting stands harvested due to Southern pine beetle attacks.
These healthy forestry practices also are known to increase wildlife benefits for many species, including deer, turkey and quail.
For information, contact the Georgia Forestry Commission office in Grovetown at (706) 556-3962.
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