Sheriff’s Meadow Foundation this week received a $75,000 grant from the state to help combat an invasive beetle infestation in the Phillips Preserve forest in Tisbury. 

The state’s Department of Fish and Game announced the funding Friday, and Sheriff’s Meadow hopes it will boost the nonprofit’s efforts to beat back the southern pine beetle. 

This summer, officials said the destructive beetle was rapidly spreading through the preserve near Lake Tashmoo, killing Island pitch pines. 

The grant will allow Sheriff’s Meadow to continue removing beetle-infested trees from the forest, as well as thinning out tree-growth to prevent further spread of the pest. 

“It enables us to hire a licensed timber harvester, with the right sized equipment, to go in and safely and quickly do this work,” Mr. Moore said Friday. “We’re in the process of milling the logs into lumber, and actually getting some beautiful lumber out of this.”

The southern pine beetle, which can attack pitch pine trees, feeds on living inner-bark tissue, meaning that the species does not thrive on deadwood. Thinning out the forest growth, Mr. Moore said, disrupts the bugs’ chemical messaging system, making it more difficult for the species to spread. 

“You definitely have to approach it with a lot of humility, because it’s a very powerful force of nature,” he said. “It’s been a really interesting learning experience.”

Work to mitigate the spread remains ongoing and Sheriff’s Meadow is pursuing a permit from the state to burn forest debris.