Stimulus money could be used for planting

Federal stimulus money is now available to help some Middle Georgia landowners, including those in Bibb County, to establish longleaf pine forests on storm-damaged woodland areas that need reforestation, according to the Georgia Forestry Commission.

The funds are part of a grant obtained by the Forestry Commission under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

The aim of the program is to create jobs and help landowners promote healthy forest ecosystems by encouraging the re-establishment of longleaf pines. The pine trees are highly valued for their resistance to damage by insects, diseases and storms as well as their yield.

Stimulus funds also are earmarked to combat invasive plants, including cogongrass, non-native privet and olive, Japanese climbing fern, Chinese tallow tree and multiflora rose. Landowners must own a minimum of 10 acres of forestland with a minimum treatment size of 3 acres.

Applications will be accepted through Oct. 16 for longleaf restoration and through Oct. 31 for invasive plant control. Bibb County landowners may call 445-5548. Anyone interested in the program may visit the commission’s Web site, www.gatrees.org, for more information.