FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 15, 2014
INITIAL FLIGHTS SHOW VARYING DEGREES OF TIMBER DAMAGE ACROSS SOUTH CAROLINA
(Columbia, SC) - Reconnaissance flights conducted today across all three of the Forestry Commission’s operating regions suggest widespread damage to forests in the eastern half of the state.
The following observations are cursory. More detailed surveys begin next week when timber will have had time to benefit from snow/ice melt and perhaps recover their posture, thereby influencing future growth.
- In our Coastal Region, which extends from Orangeburg County to the southern half of SC’s coastal counties, damage grows more severe the farther one moves inland. Timber stands in areas starting from Aiken County running to Orangeburg County and east to I-95 are in worse condition, generally speaking. Several exceptions were noted however. Pockets of substantial damage are seen in areas toward the coast with timber in Pinopolis, SC as one example of localized heavy damage.
Younger pines, particularly in stands which have been thinned, have fared worse than those trees in more established stands, observed SCFC Coastal Region personnel.
- SCFC’s Pee Dee Region includes SC’s 14 extreme northeastern counties. Pilots surveying here observed heavy weather damage to stands from Timmonsville to Olanta and down to Williamsburg Co., with lower Florence County appearing to have gotten the worst of the storm. An experienced Forestry Commission pilot observed significant snapping damage to trees in northern Williamsburg Co.
Clarendon, Lee, and Sumter counties forests suffered significant damage, particularly (again) among thinned pines in an age class of five to 20 years old. Generally, scattered light damage is observed in Marion, Dillon, and Marlboro counties.
- Bottomland hardwoods are damaged in Edgefield County, part of SCFC’s Piedmont Region which extends from Lexington to Greenville and encompasses 19 of SC’s northwestern counties. As is the case statewide, younger pines in this region were bent over due to the weight of frozen precipitation. Most will recover, but the timber market prefers straight trees. This is why ice storm events are of major concern to both landowner and mill operator. Survival doesn’t guarantee maximum marketability upon final harvest.
Note that today’s windy conditions meant sporty but brief flights for some pilots. These are initial observations. Conducting them is a critical first step as a great degree of interest is paid to the condition of the millions of acres of trees in the storm’s path.
Forestry and its related businesses provide the livelihood of many people. South Carolina’s forest resource is the backbone of our state’s largest manufacturing sector. With 88% of our 13+ million acres of forestland privately owned (mostly by families who live on their land), forestry is more than a business in the Palmetto State, it is a way of life.
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For more information, call Scott Hawkins, (803) 896-8820
SC Forest-related businesses have a $17 billion annual impact on our economy.
For every $1.00 invested by the state in its Forestry Commission, forest industry produces about $1,200.00 of economic impact.