Pax pounds $17 million worth of trees in Dorchester

  • Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Ice Storm Pax left a trail of fallen limbs and uprooted trees throughout all of South Carolina – to the point where State Forester Henry E. Kodama issued a Forest Disaster Declaration on March 5.

Walt Woodrum, unit forester for the Santee Unit of South Carolina, said the declaration is meant to ensure that all citizens and the forestry community are aware of the disaster and its importance to the state, and to encourage forestry community members to assist in timber salvage and utilization to the fullest extent possible.

In particular, Woodrum said the declaration alerts timber companies about the number of uprooted trees in order for them to salvage that timber before cutting down any more trees, although he added only about 15 to 20 percent of fallen trees are usually saved because of the time it takes to get to all of them. “His [Kodama’s] reasoning was to ensure all citizens knew about it,” Woodrum said.

A survey of timber stands impacted by Ice Storm Pax reveals that the storm did $17,580,192 worth of damage in Dorchester County, Woodrum said. Across the state 64,707 acres had light damage, 9,327 acres had moderate damage, and 1,336 had heavy damage.

“The declaration will allow us to better salvage trees,” Woodrum said. “It lets the whole forestry community be aware that we have damage.”

Williamsburg County appeared to get hit the hardest in the state, reeling in $38 million worth of damage. The lowest recorded damage was done to Edgefield County, which received $500,000 worth of damage.

“We’re asking companies to maybe postpone cutting more trees,” Woodrum said, adding he anticipates there will be a cost incentive program to help people replant trees, though no such thing has been finalized.

A press release from the South Carolina Forestry Commission encourages landowners with damage to contact a registered forester to assess their situation and begin the recovery process as needed.

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