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Funds Available For Forest Thinning

Texas A&M Forest Service is now accepting applications for the 2021 Southern Pine Beetle (SPB) Prevention Cost-Share Program. Through this program, eligible forest landowners can receive financial and technical assistance to reduce the threat of future SPB infestations and outbreaks.

Funds provided by USDA Forest Service-Region 8 and Forest Health Protection can assist landowners with conducting first thin operations in overly dense, pulpwood-sized pine stands in 21 East Texas counties.

“Our goal through this program is to reduce the potential for SPB attacks on our forests while simultaneously increasing tree growth and vigor,” said Shane Harrington, Texas A&M Forest Service Program Leader.

Since the inception of the SPB Prevention Program, owners have treated over 100,000 acres throughout East Texas.

“This program has a successful history of assisting forest landowners by reducing their potential for hosting future SPB attacks as well as increasing overall forest health and resiliency, which is what sound forest management is about,” said Harrington.

Eligible landowners may receive up to $50 per acre, with a 100-acre maximum, to assist in conducting first thin operations. The forested property must meet the set criteria and be within one of the 21 priority counties, which include: Angelina, Cass, Cherokee, Hardin, Harrison, Houston, Jasper, Liberty, Marion, Nacogdoches, Newton, Panola, Polk, Rusk, Sabine, San Augustine, San Jacinto, Shelby, Trinity, Tyler, and Walker.

Applications are due by January 7, 2022, and you submit them through local Texas A&M Forest Service offices for the eligible counties. Once you submit your application, they will go through a ranking process based on location, forest conditions, proximity to national forest lands, and past participation in the program. After applications are ranked, they notify landowners about their application status. Owners must complete all approved thinning projects within 14 months of the approval date.

For program criteria, requirements, and an application, interested landowners can visit http://tfsweb.tamu.edu/SPB or contact their local Texas A&M Forest Service office.

For more information on cost-share programs offered to Texas landowners, search the Texas A&M Forest Service Funding Connector website at https://texasforestinfo.tamu.edu/fundingconnector/.