Hurricane Michael dealt a devastating blow to over 5 million acres of woodlands when it roared through Florida, Georgia, and Alabama in October, according to The Wall Street Journal. Beyond mature trees that snapped during the storm, there is a range of unseen damage. Blue stain (discoloration from fungi) rendered some saw logs unusable. Some timber still standing was rattled so badly by high winds that it’s no longer suitable for its intended use and instead must be pulped or mulched. Then there are harmful insects and rotting that occur naturally in damp environments. Further compounding these issues were debris and fallen trees that delayed crews trying to access ravaged areas. In addition, at least one major local mill suffered substantial damage, and others were still stocked from the summer logging season, presenting a financial challenge in shipping timber elsewhere. “This is a catastrophic loss,” said Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam.
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Photo Credit: National Guard