More than 86,000 individuals and families, owning between 10–1,000 acres, collectively own 5.3 million acres of the private forestland in Maine. Although most of these family forests are located in the southern part of the state and not in areas most likely to be influenced by the SBW, it is important for family forest owners to stay informed about the SBW and how it may affect them (Butler et al., 2016).
Family forest owners are important opinion leaders about forestry issues in their communities and exert considerable influence on public opinion. In addition, wood harvested from their lands represents about a quarter of the wood harvested in the state, and therefore has a large economic impact in Maine.
The coming SBW outbreak is important to family forest owners, especially those in the northern and Downeast areas of the state because:
- It will defoliate and kill balsam fir and spruce trees on their property.
- They may need or want to harvest dead and dying trees on their property.
- It may reduce the aesthetic value of their woodlands.
- It may reduce the price they receive on softwoods harvested from their property.
- It may increase the fire hazard on their lands in a severe outbreak.
- Even if your woods are not directly affected, family woodland owners will most likely see the effects of the SBW in scenic changes, less recreational opportunities, changing statewide demand for forest products, and potential legislation that may adversely affect management of their forestland.
Help for the Family Forest Owner
If you haven’t already, you may want to address the coming spruce budworm outbreak in thinking about how you work with your woods. Have a conversation about the spruce budworm and your woods with your consulting forester to see if you have prepared adequately for this outbreak. If you don’t already have a consulting forester, this guide may help get you started: Be Woods Wise.
Two smartphone apps have been developed to help Maine woodlot owners deal with the infestation.
About My Woods is a new smartphone app to help woodland owners in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, and New York learn about their woods. The app is now available for free download here.
This calculator app was designed to provide woodlot owners and managers with a tool for evaluating the potential stand volume losses resulting from Spruce Budworm infestation. This calculator is designed to work on a stand basis. Expected defoliation and relative volume losses are reported by species or for the entire stand under alternative scenarios of budworm infestation and foliage protection. You can download the free app here.