Early reports from Louisiana in areas battered by Hurricane Laura are indicating that forestland losses will be extensive. There are twisted trees and downed timber and a large-scale assessment is just now getting underway. However, according to Robbie Hutchins, an area forestry agent with the LSU AgCenter, timber companies and the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry are doing extensive aerial surveys to properly assess the damage, but Hutchins said the storm even complicated the ability do those assessments. “Some of the communication towers the aircraft use were damaged, and some of the aircraft fuel locations didn’t have power”. Through modeling based on wind speeds, the Forest Service estimates that damaged pine alone could run the state’s four largest mills for one year, according to Hutchins. Downed timber can be salvaged, but Hutchins said time is of the essence. Fallen timber will spoil quickly, especially in Louisiana’s climate.
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