$200K allotted to combat Southern Pine Beetle in Pine Barrens

Posted: Updated:
HAMPTON BAYS -

The state has issued more than $200,000 in recovery grants to battle the Southern Pine Beetle – the insects responsible for destroying acres of trees in Long Island’s Pine Barrens.

Officials say more than 5,000 acres of land have been affected by the Southern Pine Beetle. They say the infestation has spread as far east as East Hampton.

John Pavacic, the executive director of the Central Pine Barrens Commission, says 350 pitch pine seedlings planted at Hubbard County Park in Hampton Bays will help restore the Pine Barrens landscape. He says another part of the restoration plan involves cutting down thousands of infested trees - a method that helps to suppress the insects.

"Down south where they've combated the Pine Beetle for decades, it's been shown that this method of cutting has been 85 percent effective,” says Pavacic.

State Department of Environmental Conservation officials say 8,000 infested trees were cut down last season. They will soon be taking aerial images of the Pine Barrens to see where more cutting is necessary.

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