Timber industry struggling with the loss caused from hurricane Michael


According to the Florida Forest Service, hurricane Michael caused damage to approximately 72 million tons of timber across the panhandle.

While some of the downed trees can be salvaged, experts said it’s challenging.

“There’s not a lot of value in the salvaged from the timber,” said Chuck Mathis, American Forest Management region manager. “It’s difficult to get it salvaged because we don’t have enough crews, harvesting crews to salvage it all in a reasonable amount of time and we don’t have enough mills to haul it to.”

The loss affects a lot of people. The landowner, who has invested time and money into the crop, right down to the logging and sawmill companies.

“The same 12 inch tree that you would have got a great two by four out of before this storm,” said Mathis. “Today might not yield the same lumber because of the damage to the tree.”

The Florida Forest Service estimates roughly 2.5 million log trucks of wood was left broken or blown over after the storm.

Mathis said it looks bad now and many people have been affected, but eventually, the industry will be back up and running.

“The industry will recover. We may have some lean years and it’s going to be tough,” Mathis said. “But with some help the industry will recover but again, it’s a major loss.”

The Florida Tree Farm Program will be hosting a timber meeting February 12 to provide information to timber producers who have been affected by hurricane Michael.

The meeting will be held at Rivertown Community Church in Blountstown from 9 AM to 5 PM.

To register, call (850) 674-8323.

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