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Article

Rapid Assessment of Tree Damage Resulting from a 2020 Windstorm in Iowa, USA

1
Northern Research Station, USDA Forest Service, Madison, WI 53726, USA
2
Iowa Department of Natural Resources, Des Moines, IA 50319, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Jean-Claude Ruel and Barry Gardiner
Forests 2021, 12(5), 555; https://doi.org/10.3390/f12050555
Received: 19 March 2021 / Revised: 23 April 2021 / Accepted: 26 April 2021 / Published: 29 April 2021
A need to quantify the impact of a particular wind disturbance on forest resources may require rapid yet reliable estimates of damage. We present an approach for combining pre-disturbance forest inventory data with post-disturbance aerial survey data to produce design-based estimates of affected forest area and number and volume of trees damaged or killed. The approach borrows strength from an indirect estimator to adjust estimates from a direct estimator when post-disturbance remeasurement data are unavailable. We demonstrate this approach with an example application from a recent windstorm, known as the 2020 Midwest Derecho, which struck Iowa, USA, and adjacent states on 10–11 August 2020, delivering catastrophic damage to structures, crops, and trees. We estimate that 2.67 million trees and 1.67 million m3 of sound bole volume were damaged or killed on 23 thousand ha of Iowa forest land affected by the 2020 derecho. Damage rates for volume were slightly higher than for number of trees, and damage on live trees due to stem breakage was more prevalent than branch breakage, both likely due to higher damage probability in the dominant canopy of larger trees. The absence of post-storm observations in the damage zone limited direct estimation of storm impacts. Further analysis of forest inventory data will improve understanding of tree damage susceptibility under varying levels of storm severity. We recommend approaches for improving estimates, including increasing spatial or temporal extents of reference data used for indirect estimation, and incorporating ancillary satellite image-based products. View Full-Text
Keywords: Iowa; wind disturbance; tree damage; tree mortality; forest inventory; indirect estimation; derecho Iowa; wind disturbance; tree damage; tree mortality; forest inventory; indirect estimation; derecho
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MDPI and ACS Style

Goff, T.C.; Nelson, M.D.; Liknes, G.C.; Feeley, T.E.; Pugh, S.A.; Morin, R.S. Rapid Assessment of Tree Damage Resulting from a 2020 Windstorm in Iowa, USA. Forests 2021, 12, 555. https://doi.org/10.3390/f12050555

AMA Style

Goff TC, Nelson MD, Liknes GC, Feeley TE, Pugh SA, Morin RS. Rapid Assessment of Tree Damage Resulting from a 2020 Windstorm in Iowa, USA. Forests. 2021; 12(5):555. https://doi.org/10.3390/f12050555

Chicago/Turabian Style

Goff, Thomas C., Mark D. Nelson, Greg C. Liknes, Tivon E. Feeley, Scott A. Pugh, and Randall S. Morin 2021. "Rapid Assessment of Tree Damage Resulting from a 2020 Windstorm in Iowa, USA" Forests 12, no. 5: 555. https://doi.org/10.3390/f12050555

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