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Southern pine beetle spot, Bienville National Forest, Mississippi

Southern pine beetle spot, Bienville National Forest, Mississippi

SPB is the most damaging insect pest of pines in the Eastern U.S. During major outbreaks, the SPB severely impacts the region’s tourism and wood-based industries, and also negatively impacts watersheds and wildlife habitat, most notably that of the red-cockaded woodpecker. It is an aggressive tree-killing beetle which periodically damages extensive areas of pine forests from NY to FL to TX.  From 1973-present SPB has caused almost $4 billion in economic damage. The worst recorded outbreak took place from 1999 – 2003 when SPB impacted more than a million acres in 7 states and caused more than $1 billion of damage, most on non-industrial, private land.  Currently there is SPB activity in AL, FL, LA, MS, NC, SC and VA.  The most significant activity is on the National Forests in MS (5,500 spots) and in Alabama.





SPB Prevention Program

The SPB Prevention Program is a cornerstone piece to the Southern Region Forest Health Protection’s efforts to institute a comprehensive and integrated approach for preventing and reducing the impacts of SPB on federal, state, and private forests. The SPB Prevention Program was developed, at the request of Congress, after the last major outbreak in 1999-2003. The prevention strategy has been developed and implemented in close cooperation and integration with 12 National Forests and 13 Southern States. The million acres treated represents more than 13,000 landowners who have participated in cost-share programs and hundreds of loggers who have taken part in a logger incentive program. The logger incentive program is an innovative approach that was developed to help target smaller-acreage tracts and to save and restore jobs in the rural-based logging industry that has been struggling to survive the last several years. Since the SPB Prevention Program started in 2003, there has not been a major SPB outbreak, which has allowed for a single focus on prevention work instead of suppression activities. The SPB Prevention Program is a successful model upon which to develop future proactive forest health strategies that can be applied across large geographic areas and among many different cooperators and stakeholders.


  • Interactive SPB Story Map

    The U.S. Forest Service has teamed up with ESRI to create an exciting new tool for the Southern Pine Beetle (SPB) Prevention Program. This web-based application is called a story map, which is designed for users to navigate through interactive maps accompanied by multimedia content and informative text.