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by John M. Pye, Terry S. Price, Stephen R. Clarke, and Robert J. Huggett, Jr.
|Caution--calculations converting federal damage volumes from cubic feet to cords and mbf appear to be incorrect and will affect subsequent totals and value calculations. Please exercise caution while using these data!!|
The southern pine beetle (Dendroctonus frontalis Zimm.) is the most destructive insect for pines in the Southeastern U.S. This native bark beetle attacks and kills southern pines, and when its populations rise to epidemic levels it kills them in large numbers, successfully attacking and killing patches of healthy pines in infestations called "spots." Severe outbreaks can result in substantial mortality.
This publication provides annual data documenting outbreaks of this beetle from 1960 through 2004, building on information contained in the 1998 publication "A History of Southern Pine Beetle Outbreaks In The Southeastern United States" and earlier editions of the series. See our Methods for more information on how the data was obtained and how it should be interpreted.
Damages to forests can be expressed in various ways. Extending back to 1960 are records of those counties in outbreak status, defined as having one or more spots per thousand acres of host forest type. For years since 1978 outbreak status is broken down into three classes of outbreak status and thus distinguishes between areas experiencing severe or moderate levels of infestation. Even a few infestations can cause substantial damage to individual landowners if those spots grow to large size.
The report also expresses damages as annual volumes of sawlog- and pulpwood-sized timber killed. These volumes have been multiplied by prevailing stumpage prices in each state to obtain dollar damages. The length of these records differs by state but generally extends back to 1972. Beginning with this edition of the report, the dollar damages are adjusted for inflation.
However, volume times price misses how damages can also affect price during severe outbreaks. Landowners respond to infestations on their land by cutting spots and surrounding green trees to suppress their infestations and recover losses. During severe outbreaks, the salvage and suppression activities of numerous landowners acting at the same time can depress timber prices. Depressed prices reduce revenues for all sellers of timber, not just those with infestations. At the same time, buyers of timber and timber products benefit from this short term drop in price, although such benefits are likely to reverse in the long term as supplies tighten.
These forms of landowner risk and market shifts occur in similar ways following a variety of natural disasters. Read more about them in the following publications:
There are other losses not included in these figures. Small infestations can kill several trees and yet go reported. Also, trees in urban or residential areas often have a value much greater than that for timber. Losses to these trees would be greater than reported here. They also might require expensive removal costs to reduce hazards to people and property.
This updated version of the report is still pending review. However, the damage and outbreak numbers on which this report is based have been examined by the many contributing state and federal forest health specialists.
Select a state from the map above or using the following links to see more information on that state:
AL AR FL GA KY MS LA NC SC TN TX VA
Southern Pine Beetle Damages Southwide by Year
value of damages in $mil2004
killed sawtimber in million BF
percent of typical sawtimber harvest
killed pulpwood in thous. cords
percent of typical pulpwood harvest
Want more? Download the above and more in the following Excel spreadsheets:
USDA Forest Service
Southern Research Station