As you would for any other investment, you need to protect your forest from the threat of wildfire, insect attack and disease. While these elements will always pose a threat, there are things you can do to minimize the risk and reduce potential damage. Here are a few things:
Thinning overcrowded stands will keep your forest vigorous and reduce potential for insect or disease attack. If an insect outbreak, such as southern pine beetle, is found, the infected trees should be cut down and removed as soon as possible. Hardwood strips in pine stands can act as barriers to the spread of a bark beetle infestation. Mixed stand management may also reduce the threat of bark beetles.
Certain soils are more conducive to disease problems, particularly in pine. Shortleaf and loblolly on the wrong sites are susceptible to some root diseases. Periodic prescribed burning (every three to five years) will reduce fuel for a wildfire and, if a wildfire occurs, will keep it from doing serious damage to the stand. In areas where rust diseases such as fusiform rust are prevalent, burning will help control oak, which is the alternate host for the disease.