Worst Forest Disaster in U.S. History (Katrina)

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When Hurricane Katrina slammed into the Gulf Coast two years ago, the storm devastated 320 million trees.

Now the United States is suffering the worst forest catastrophe in its history, according to a new analysis by the journal Science.

Using satellite images, scientists found that more than 5 million acres of trees were destroyed across Mississippi and Alabama. Experts said it would take decades for the plant life to recover, and some areas may be permanently damaged.

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Michael Glen Wade - 11/27/2007

What, no trees for Trent Lott's front porch? Where will feckless George sit with that drink? Where will Trent hang his toupe? Alas and alack.

Walt J. Moeller - 11/21/2007

In addition to other things, I am a tree farmer in Jefferson Davis County, located NW of Hattiesburg. I lost about 15% of one stand and almost all of the hardwoods in the stream beds on a second tract. Unfortunately, none of it was salvageable. One of my cousins lost 30-40%. Loses were functions of location, age, and type of trees. There was a stand of pines about 20+ years old just off of MS 42 W of Sumrall which Katrina cleared; only a few sticks left. The only thing we have in comparison is Camille. She hit much harder here requiring us to clear cut what had been mature timber and replant. Much of that replanting has matured, cut and replanted again.

Fortunately, there are USDA programs which are helping. For instance, I was able to take advantage of a program which helped with knocking down damaged timber and then doing controlled burns to lessen the fuel load in the forest and the likelyhood of a runaway forest fire.
Yes, just like Camille, it will take dacades for the Pine Belt to recover. There may be some areas near the coast "permanently" damaged due to salt water that Katrina liberally sprinkled over the land. The major impact I have seen is in trash plants that had their seed spread all over and are now coming up all over.

Walt Moeller