Georgia’s ongoing drought is killing trees that are vital to the state’s timber industry. The lack of water is also making them vulnerable to other threats.
Pine trees typically succumb due to lightening, drought, insects and disease. In a recent fly-over, officials with the Georgia Forestry Commission say damage from the so-called pine beetle is currently minimal.
But the lack of rain is stressing trees leaving them open to other problems like the Ip beetle and fungus. Jeremy Hughes is a forestry health specialist with the Georgia Forestry Commission.
“What we’ve seen this past year is probably more drought related. The trees are stressed from drought and then you get stuff like insects possibly coming in there and finishing off the job.”
Dead trees cannot be used in Georgia’s lumber and paper industries. Georgia timber is valued at more than a half-billion dollars a year.