Environment

After Hurricane Laura, forest landowners can seek help with damaged timber

New webpage outlines recovery steps

Texas A&M Forest Service offers web of resources for landowners facing timber damage following Hurricane Laura (Photo courtesy of Texas A&M Forest Service)

Hurricane Laura trended eastward as it made landfall near Cameron, Louisiana, on Aug. 27, sparing most of the state of Texas from its damaging winds and flooding. However, portions of some of the state’s southeastern counties did experience damage to homes, businesses and timberland.   

To help landowners remain resilient and productive in the face of such natural disasters, Texas A&M Forest Service developed a webpage containing steps that can be taken to recover from hurricane events.

The Hurricane Laura Landowner Assistance page outlines activities that landowners can take to minimize their losses. It begins with actions immediately following a hurricane that are focused on safety and assessment and continues with ongoing actions, resources and information.

Timber damage

Following Hurricane Laura, Texas A&M Forest Service conducted a timber damage assessment based on National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, NOAA, and Forest Inventory and Analysis, FIA, data.

Approximately 210,000 acres in eastern Newton and Orange counties received timber, hardwood and softwood damage. An additional 850,000 acres across Hardin, Jasper, Newton and Sabine counties received light and scattered damage of softwood and hardwood timber.

Though the overall impact to East Texas timber was fairly isolated, individuals who lost timber may have been significantly affected.

“Hurricanes can cause significant damage to forestland,” said Jake Donellan, East Texas Operations department head for Texas A&M Forest Service. “The first priority is to make sure you and your family are safe, and after the storm, we can help you assess damage on your property, determine which trees can be saved, help you decide on salvage operations, debris removal and selling your timber.”

Accessing help

If you are a landowner or homeowner whose trees have been damaged by Hurricane Laura, you may contact a professional forester or certified arborist to assist you in estimating the damage and determining a deductible casualty loss.

You may also request assistance from Texas A&M Forest Service. Your local district or community forester is the key contact for programs and services offered in your area. Please request assistance if you have a question or would like a forester to contact you to assess damage to your property.

 “Texas A&M Forest Service in East Texas has supported private landowners in good times and bad for more than 100 years,” said Donellan. “We’re here to serve before, during and after the storm.”

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Linda Moon

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