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Landowners encouraged to seek advice when assessing woodland damage from Hurricane Matthew

NC-Forest-Service-ShieldRALEIGH – The N.C. Forest Service encourages landowners and others to exercise caution when assessing possible damage to their woodlands from Hurricane Matthew. Landowners concerned about the health of their woodlands should seek advice from their county ranger or other forestry professionals.

“In addition to devastating crops, Hurricane Matthew also damaged woodlands in central and eastern North Carolina,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “This damage includes the uprooting, wounding, bending and breaking of trees. Standing water can cause additional tree stress and death. Landowners are encouraged to inspect their woodlands or have them looked at by a professional.”

The N.C. Forest Service can help with this process, or landowners can hire a consulting forester, said David Lane, state forester.

“Woodlands that appear to have been severely damaged in a storm can often recover. We are encouraging landowners to be fully informed prior to making any significant decisions about their woodlands,” Lane said. “A professional can help you with determining if your woodlands need a plan for managing damaged timber.”

A management plan should be requested as soon as possible to assess the extent of any damage and mitigation measures, Lane said. A sketch map or aerial photograph of the affected area can also be helpful. The next step is to ground-check the damage to determine the need for salvaging the timber. Any salvage operation will depend on location, amount and type of damage, and management objectives.

Lane said it is important that landowners have a written contract before selling any of their salvage timber to protect their financial interests. A consulting forester can help with appraising the value of timber and the availability of markets.

Visit the N.C. Forest Service’s website at and follow the links under “Managing Your Forest” to learn more about recovering from storms and fires. The website also contains contact information for county rangers, who can provide additional advice about woodland management.

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