Task Force Addresses Tree Damage Following Ivan

Governor Bob Riley Monday appointed a 24-member panel to assist landowners in south Alabama salvage thousands of trees damaged by Hurricane Ivan. Riley said the group will work with state and federal forestry officials to immediately begin harvesting trees damaged in a 12 county area.

The counties are Baldwin, Butler, Clarke, Coffee, Conecuh, Covington, Crenshaw, Escambia, Geneva, Mobile, Monroe and Wilcox.

Alabama Agriculture Commissioner Ron Sparks said about $700 million worth of timber was damaged by Ivan's powerful winds and rain.

Riley also said he's confident Alabama's forests will eventually recover. The Alabama Forest Recovery Task Force will be headed by David Helm, an executive with International Paper's Forest Resource, based in Prattville. Paper and forest products are the largest manufacturing industry in the state.

Alabama Associated Press