Lessons From the Derecho: Addressing Storm Damage and Working Towards Resilient Forest and Tree Resources

Iowa Learning Farms hosted a webinar on Wednesday about storm damage to forests and urban trees caused by the derecho in August. Billy Beck, Extension Forestry Specialist and Assistant Professor in the Department of Natural Resource Ecology and Management at Iowa State University, explained how this damage can be assessed and addressed to create more resilient forest and tree resources in the future.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is image-2.png

Storm-damaged forests create dangerous situations and it’s important to take safety precautions and leave any work outside of your skill set to professionals. When assessing storm-damaged forests, Beck suggests creating a map of the damage and consulting with a forester on the best way to address the damage. There may be some trees that can be monitored instead of removed depending on the type and extent of damage.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is image.png

It’s also extremely important to assess forests and trees for damage before the next disaster. Doing so can help prevent extensive damage. Many trees that were damaged in the derecho should have already been removed, due to issues caused by improper placement, pruning, or planting. These issues made the trees more susceptible to being damaged in the storm.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is image-1.png

When considering replacing trees or planting new, it’s important to consider the lessons learned from the aftermath of the derecho. It’s important when planting trees to match the species to the site, thinking first about soils, space, wind, wound potential, and hazards, and then selecting trees that meet your objectives from suitable species. Planting native trees and diverse mixes of trees, as well as ensuring proper planting and care, can help create resilient tree resources.

To learn more about assessing and addressing tree damage and creating more resilient tree and forest resources, watch the full webinar here! Click here for a list of resources compiled by Beck for this webinar.

Join us on Wednesday, September 16th at noon for a webinar titled “Enhancing Monarch Butterfly Conservation in Iowa” presented by Steve Bradbury, professor in the Departments of Natural Resource Ecology and Management and Entomology at Iowa State University.

Hilary Pierce