COLLEGE STATION — Eligible forest landowners can receive financial and technical assistance by helping reduce the threat of southern pine beetle, or SPB, infestations and outbreaks.
Landowners in 21 East Texas counties conducting first-thin operations in overly dense, pulpwood-sized pine stands may apply for the 2019 Southern Pine Beetle Prevention Program Thinning Cost Share.
This funding opportunity is available thanks to a cost-share grant through the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service Forest Health Protection Program administered by Texas A&M Forest Service.
“Our goal through this program is to reduce the potential for SPB attacks on our forests while simultaneously increasing tree growth and vigor,” said Shane Harrington, Texas A&M Forest Service program leader. “This program has a history of successfully assisting forest landowners reduce their potential for hosting SPB attacks as well as increasing overall forest health and resiliency — which is what sound forest management is about.
Since the inception of the SPB Prevention Program, over 100,000 acres have been treated throughout East Texas.
Eligible landowners may receive up to $50 per acre, with a 100-acre maximum, to assist in conducting first-thin operations. The forested property must meet several criteria and be located within one of the 21 priority counties — Angelina, Cass, Cherokee, Hardin, Harrison, Houston, Jasper, Liberty, Marion, Nacogdoches, Newton, Panola, Polk, Rusk, Sabine, San Augustine, San Jacinto, Shelby, Trinity, Tyler and Walker.
Additionally, all approved thinning projects must be completed within 12 months of the approval date.
Interested landowners can visit the program website to download an application and view program criteria and requirements or contact their local TFS office. All applications are due by Nov. 15.