Steps being taken to thin Lake Tyler East timber
By JACQUE HILBURN-SIMMONSjsimmons@tylerpaper.com
Efforts are under way to begin thinning timber on some city-owned land near Lake Tyler East.
The work is intended to boost the health of the forest, improve accessibility and possibly curtail fire, pest and disease, based on recommendations from the Texas Forest Service and Williams Forestry.
"We're working to develop a timber management plan," said Greg Morgan, utilities and public works director. "This should promote healthy grown and reduce fire risk."
Tyler City Council members signed off on the plan Tuesday.
Two parcels set for work in the coming weeks include a 333.97-acre tract off County Road adjacent to Lake Tyler East, and 107.6 acres adjacent to Lake Tyler East off Big Oak Bay Road.
The project calls for only dead, diseased and dying trees removed from 100-foot buffer zones that surround the property.
Morris Timber Holdings, Inc. is expected to perform the work.
The city expects to receive $165,000 for the sale of the timber.
Forestry expert Jeff Williams said the work should take about three months per tract to complete.
"This is a selective thinning," he said.
A September report issued by Texas A&M Forest Service indicated Texas lost more than 300 million trees to the 2011 drought.
Burl Carraway, Texas A&M Forest Service Forest Resource Development and Sustainable Forestry Program manager, said earlier the region from Lufkin to Beaumont, where the state's heaviest forest production is located, suffered the least.
Of the region's nearly 600 million trees, only 7.5 million have died, he said, or 1.3 percent, based on studies of satellite imagery.
Experts say tree death is a natural forest process, but the drought pushed the numbers higher.
Staff Writer Adam Russell contributed to this report.