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RALEIGH — The N.C. Forest Service encourages landowners and others to exercise caution when assessing possible damage to their woodlands from Hurricane Florence. Landowners concerned about the health of their woodlands should seek advice from their county ranger or other registered foresters prior to making any final decisions.

“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 land,” said David Lane, state forester. “A professional can help you with determining if your woodlands need a plan for managing damaged timber.”

Storm damage can include the uprooting, wounding, bending and breaking of trees. Standing water, which often accompanies hurricanes, can cause additional stress and mortality. Landowners are encouraged to inspect their woodlands after the storm passes or have them looked at by a registered forester. The N.C. Forest Service can help with this process or a landowner can hire a consulting forester.

The N.C. Forest Service can write a management plan that assesses the extent of any damage and mitigation measures needed.  We can also provide contacts for contractors, cost-share information, tax information and steps towards the recovery of your woodlands.

It is important landowners have a written contract before selling any of their salvage timber to protect their financial interests. A consulting forester can help you with appraising the value of your timber and what markets may be available. If you don’t already have a management plan for your woodlands this would also be a good time to consider having one written. This will help with planning for the future of your woodlands once the damage is cleaned up.

More information is available at ncforestservice.gov. Follow the links under “Programs and Services” to “Managing Your Forest” and “Recovering from Storms and Wildfires” to learn more. You can also find contact information on the website for your county ranger who can provide you with additional advice on managing your woodland.