The AR Forestry Division aims to maintain healthy, productive forest ecosystems by preventing, detecting, and suppressing damaging insects and diseases across all land ownerships. It is our goal to inform the public of potential forest health concerns and to notify stakeholders when their forest resource may be under risk.
Technical assistance is provided to landowners and timberland managers with insect and disease concerns.
Contact the Division Manager & Forest Health Specialist for assistance:
1 Natural Resources Drive, Little Rock, AR 72205
Forest Health Highlights
Southern Pine Beetle Prevention Program
The Southern Pine Beetle Prevention Program (SPBPP) is designed to offer landowners and loggers an incentive to accomplish thinning in overly dense pine forests. Often these incentives can offset any undesirably low pulpwood prices. Any private landowner with at least 10 acres of dense pine forest (determined according to a pine basal area greater than 120 acres) is eligible for the program. A single landowner may not receive more than $10,000 in a single application year. First commercial thinnings, noncommercial thinnings, in-woods chipping, and prescribed burning are eligible practices.
Forest Pests to Know
Please visit this website (produced by our partners at Southern Regional Extension Service) for one of the best online resources about forest pests of the south:
Southern Forest Health Website
Pine Bark Beetles in Arkansas
Southern pine beetle is recognized as the most damaging forest pest of the south. Fortunately in Arkansas, this beetle has not been a problem since the mid-1990s. However, Arkansans do witness outbreaks of another bark beetle, the Ips pine engraver beetle. When someone sees a dying, red-colored pine tree in Arkansas, you can be certain that the Ips pine engraver beetle has infested it. Ips pine engraver beetles include three species of bark beetles that periodically kill pine trees, typically after drought conditions. For information about southern pine beetle and Ips please check out the following fact sheets published by our partners:
University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service - Pine Bark Beetles in Arkansas
Southern Regional Extension Forestry - Ips in the Southeastern U.S.
Invasive Pests in Arkansas
Emerald ash borer is widely discussed in Arkansas. This nonnative beetle will kill ash trees in Arkansas. Eradication of this beetle is impossible, and we will eventually see it infesting ash in every Arkansas county. Prevention is possible on single trees with an insecticide treatment. Please contact your County Forester for more information. Here is an important link for more information below:
Emerald Ash Borer Information Network
Laurel wilt disease, a pathogen carried by the redbay ambrosia beetle, is currently moving through Arkansas. Both the disease and the beetle are nonnative and are a serious threat to trees in the Lauraceae family. The biggest concern for Arkansas is the potential loss of sassafras due to this disease. For more information please see the following fact sheets published by our partners:
University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service - Laurel Wilt of Sassafras
Southern Regional Extension Forestry - Laurel Wilt and Redbay Ambrosia Beetle
To see a summary of many Arkansas invasives, check out this publication by the AR State Plant Board:
Arkansas Invasive Insects, Plants, and Pathogens of Concern Pocket Guide
For more information on invasive plants:
A Field Guide for Invasive Plants in Southern Forests
Remember! Don't Move Firewood
Many of the invasive pests that threaten Arkansas’s forests can be introduced and spread by the movement of wood. Since most invasive pests do not move very far on their own annually, human involved movement can disperse pests to new areas and cause outbreaks. The Forestry Division discourages the movement of firewood over long distances and urges the public to burn wood near its source. Learn more at the Don't Move Firewood website.