The South Carolina Forestry Commission said in a press release that they estimate the forest industry will suffer a loss of at least $65 million due to the recent flooding in S.C.
This does not include the expected millions of dollars it will cost to repair damaged private forest roads.
“Some mills have reported shortages of wood deliveries and difficulty shipping finished products because of closed roads, bridges and rail lines,” said State Forester Gene Kodama. Kodama adds that loggers in the flood zone haven’t been able to operate due to conditions after the flood, such as “wet ground and inaccessible roads and bridges,” which are unlikely to improve anytime soon.
Although the industry contributes $18.6 billion to the state’s economy, the estimated $65 million loss will still have a large impact on the loggers, mills, suppliers, and forest landowners in counties affected by the flood.
The majority of the economic loss will come from the loss of access to roads, bridges and rail lines, increased transportation costs for mills, higher operating costs for loggers, and overall lost productivity, according to the press release.
“We’re fortunate, however, that more than two-thirds of the state is forested because forests are resilient and renewable ecological systems,” said Kodama. “Forests help prevent erosion from flooding, filter the air and provide 60 percent of the water we use.”
SCFC officials emphasize that landowners shouldn’t sell their timber right away, if their trees have been flooded, because they still have a chance of survival. Instead, forest landowners should consult registered foresters, if they have any concerns.
For more information for those affected by the flooding, go to www.trees.sc.gov.