Special Issue "Wind Impacts on Forests and Trees in a Changing Climate—A Special Issue in Collaboration with the IUFRO Working Party 8.03.06"

A special issue of Forests (ISSN 1999-4907). This special issue belongs to the section "Forest Ecology and Management".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (20 March 2021).

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Jean-Claude Ruel
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Wood and forest sciences, Laval University, 2405 de la terrasse, Quebec G1V 0A6, Canada
Interests: natural regeneration; windthrow
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Barry Gardiner
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Forest Research, Bush Estate, Roslin EH25 9SY, United Kingdom
Interests: wind damage in forests; forest risk modelling; forest meteorology

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Trees regularly face a number of biotic and abiotic stresses. Among these, wind play an important role in stand dynamics but can also interfere with forest management plans. In recent decades, a number of severe storms have caused serious damage in many parts of the world leading to large economic and habitat losses. This situation is likely to become more prevalent in the context of climate change where a higher recurrence of extreme events is expected and there is an increased risk of additional damage from bark beetles and fires following a wind storm. Understanding the windthrow process, its impacts, and adjusting to windthrow risk require an interdisciplinary approach building on an understanding of climate, ecology, wind behavior, tree biomechanics, tree physiology, silviculture, and tree and forest management. 

For this Special Issue, we encourage contributions that try to build a better understanding of wind impacts on trees and how this knowledge can be integrated into the management of trees and forests, placing this new knowledge in the context of climate change. The core of the Special issue will consist of papers presented at the IUFRO 2020 Wind and trees conference (https://windandtrees2020.com/), but additional papers are welcome. Contributions can take the form of either research papers or comprehensive review articles.

Prof. Jean-Claude Ruel
Dr. Barry Gardiner
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Forests is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Windflow
  • Biomechanics
  • Windthrow hazard
  • Resilient forests
  • Climate change

Published Papers (9 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Rapid Assessment of Tree Damage Resulting from a 2020 Windstorm in Iowa, USA
Forests 2021, 12(5), 555; https://doi.org/10.3390/f12050555 - 29 Apr 2021
Viewed by 183
Abstract
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 [...] Read more.
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. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Wind Resistance of Eastern Baltic Silver Birch (Betula pendula Roth.) Suggests Its Suitability for Periodically Waterlogged Sites
Forests 2021, 12(1), 21; https://doi.org/10.3390/f12010021 - 27 Dec 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 576
Abstract
Storms and wind damage are the main cause of biomass loss in forests of Northern Europe, as well as they are synergic with the disturbances causing intense water and temperature stress. This highlights the necessity for climate-smart management at landscape level coupling ecological [...] Read more.
Storms and wind damage are the main cause of biomass loss in forests of Northern Europe, as well as they are synergic with the disturbances causing intense water and temperature stress. This highlights the necessity for climate-smart management at landscape level coupling ecological demands of forestry species with their wind resistance. Silver birch (Betula pendula Roth.), which is highly plastic species, appears to be promising for a wider application under such conditions, as it is believed to tolerate wide range of weather conditions. Though silver birch can be sensitive to water deficit and windthrow, local information on its wind tolerance in sites with different moisture regimes is advantageous. Mechanical stability of 71 mid-aged silver birches (Betula pendula Roth.) growing in seven dry (Hylocomiosa) and five periodically waterlogged (Myrtilloso-sphagnosa) sites with mineral soils in Latvia (hemiboreal lowland conditions) were assessed by the destructive static pulling tests. Site type had a significant, yet intermediate effect on the stability of silver birch. As expected, trees under periodically waterlogged conditions were more prone to collapse under static loading, however, they showed a better resistance to primary failure (beginning of wood structure deformation). Uprooting was the most common form of tree collapse. Surprisingly, considering similar root depths, stem breakage was more frequent in the periodically waterlogged than dry sites (21.9 vs. 5.1%, respectively), indicating high loading resistance of roots, supporting high plasticity and wind resistance of the studied metapopulation of silver birch. Nevertheless, in the periodically waterlogged sites, the difference between forces needed to cause primary and secondary (collapse) failures of stem decreased with age/size, implying necessity for optimization of rotation length. Accordingly, quantification of wind resistance can aid climate-smart selection of species for forest regeneration depending on landscape, suggesting birch as wind resistant option under periodically waterlogged conditions. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Estimating Wind Damage in Forested Areas Due to Tornadoes
Forests 2021, 12(1), 17; https://doi.org/10.3390/f12010017 - 25 Dec 2020
Viewed by 759
Abstract
Research Highlights: Simulations of treefall patterns during tornado events have been conducted, enabling the coupled effects of tornado characteristics, tree properties and soil conditions to be assessed for the first time. Background and Objectives: Treefall patterns and forest damage assessed in post-storm surveys [...] Read more.
Research Highlights: Simulations of treefall patterns during tornado events have been conducted, enabling the coupled effects of tornado characteristics, tree properties and soil conditions to be assessed for the first time. Background and Objectives: Treefall patterns and forest damage assessed in post-storm surveys are dependent on the interaction between topography, biology and meteorology, which makes identification of characteristic behavior challenging. Much of our knowledge of tree damage during extreme winds is based on synoptic storms. Better characterization of tree damage will provide more knowledge of tornado impacts on forests, as well as their ecological significance. Materials and Methods: a numerical method based on a Rankine vortex model coupled with two mechanistic tree models for critical wind velocity for stem break and windthrow was used to simulate tornadic tree damage. To calibrate the models, a treefall analysis of the Alonsa tornado was used. Parametric study was conducted to assess induced tornadic tree failure patterns for uprooting on saturated and unsaturated soils and stem break with different knot factors. Results: A power law relationship between failure bending moments and diameter at breast height (DBH) for the hardwood species provided the best correlation. Observed failure distributions of stem break and windthrow along the tornado track were fitted to lognormal distributions and the mean of the critical wind speeds for windthrow were found to be higher than that for stem break. Relationships between critical wind speed and tree size were negatively correlated for windthrow and positively correlated for stem break. Higher soil moisture contents and lower knot factors reduced the critical wind speeds. The simulations show varying tree fall patterns displaying forward and backward convergence, different tornado damage widths and asymmetry of the tracks. These variations were controlled by the relative magnitudes of radial and tangential tornado velocities, the ratio between translational speed and maximum rotational wind speed and the mode of failure of the trees. Conclusions: The results show the complexity of predicting tornadic damage in forests, and it is anticipated that this type of simulation will aid risk assessments for insurance companies, emergency managers and forest authorities. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Structural Root-Plate Characteristics of Wind-Thrown Norway Spruce in Hemiboreal Forests of Latvia
Forests 2020, 11(11), 1143; https://doi.org/10.3390/f11111143 - 28 Oct 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 599
Abstract
An increase in extreme weather events is predicted with increasing climate changes. Changes indicate major problems in the future, as Norway spruce (Picea abies L. Karst.) is one of the most important forestry species in Northern Europe and one of the most [...] Read more.
An increase in extreme weather events is predicted with increasing climate changes. Changes indicate major problems in the future, as Norway spruce (Picea abies L. Karst.) is one of the most important forestry species in Northern Europe and one of the most susceptible to damage from extreme weather events, like windstorms. Root architecture is essential for tree anchorage. However, information of structural root-plate volume and characteristics in relation to tree wind resistance in drained deep peat soils is lacking. Individual tree susceptibility to wind damage is dependent on tree species, soil properties, tree health and root-plate volume. We assessed the structural root-plate dimensions of wind-thrown Norway spruce on freely drained mineral and drained deep peat soils at four trial sites in Latvia, and root-plate measurements were made on 65 recently tipped-up trees and 36 trees from tree-pulling tests on similar soils. Tree height, diameter at breast height, root-plate width and depth were measured. Measurements of structural root-plate width were done in five directions covering 180° of the root-plate; rooting depth was measured on the horizontal and vertical axes of root-plate. Root-plate volume was higher in drained peat soils in comparison to mineral soils, and root-plate width was the main driver of root-plate volume. A decreasing trend was observed in structural root depth distribution with increasing distance from the stem (i.e., from the center to the edge of the root plate) with a greater decrease in mineral soils. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Wind and Snow Loading of Balsam Fir during a Canadian Winter: A Pioneer Study
Forests 2020, 11(10), 1089; https://doi.org/10.3390/f11101089 - 13 Oct 2020
Viewed by 754
Abstract
Widely distributed across Quebec, balsam fir (Abies balsamea (L.) Mill) is highly vulnerable to wind damage. The harsh winter conditions, freezing temperatures, and snow pose an additional risk. It is important to find the mechanical loads experienced by trees during winter to [...] Read more.
Widely distributed across Quebec, balsam fir (Abies balsamea (L.) Mill) is highly vulnerable to wind damage. The harsh winter conditions, freezing temperatures, and snow pose an additional risk. It is important to find the mechanical loads experienced by trees during winter to adapt forest management and minimize the risk of damage to this species. Many studies have been carried out on wind and snow loading damage risks in Northern Europe, mostly based on post-storm damage inventories. However, no study has continuously monitored the applied turning moment during a period with snow loading, and no study has investigated wind and snow loading on balsam fir. Therefore, our main objective was to conduct a pioneering study to see how trees bend under wind loading during winter, and to see how snow cover on the canopy contributes to the loading. Two anemometers placed at canopy height and 2/3 canopy height, air and soil temperature sensors, a hunting camera, and strain gauges attached to the trunks of fifteen balsam fir trees, allowed us to measure the wind and snow induced bending moments experienced by the trees together with the meteorological conditions. Data were recorded at a frequency of 5 Hz for more than 2000 h during summer 2018 and winter 2019. Two mixed linear models were used to determine which tree and stand parameters influence the turning moment on the trees and evaluate the effect of winter. The selected model for measurements made during winter found that including the snow thickness on crowns was better than those models that did not consider the effect of snow (ΔAICc > 25), but the effect of snow depth on the bending moment appears to be minor. However, overall, the turning moment experienced by trees during winter was found to be higher than the turning moment experienced at the same wind speed in summer. This is probably a result of increases in the rigidity of the stem and root system during freezing temperatures and the change in wind flow through the forest due to snow on the canopy and on the ground during the winter season. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
A Numerical Approach to Estimate Natural Frequency of Trees with Variable Properties
Forests 2020, 11(9), 915; https://doi.org/10.3390/f11090915 - 21 Aug 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 586
Abstract
Free vibration analysis of a Euler-Bernoulli tapered column was conducted using the finite element method to identify the vibration modes of an equivalent tree structure under a specified set of conditions. A non-prismatic elastic circular column of height L was analysed, taking distributed [...] Read more.
Free vibration analysis of a Euler-Bernoulli tapered column was conducted using the finite element method to identify the vibration modes of an equivalent tree structure under a specified set of conditions. A non-prismatic elastic circular column of height L was analysed, taking distributed self-weight into account. Various scenarios were considered: column taper, base fixity, radial and longitudinal stiffness (E) and density (ρ) and crown mass. The effect on the first natural frequency was assessed in each case. Validation against closed form solutions of benchmark problems was conducted satisfactorily. The results show that column taper, base fixity and E/ρ ratio are particularly important for this problem. Comparison of predictions with field observations of natural sway frequency for almost 700 coniferous and broadleaved trees from the published literature showed that the model worked well for coniferous trees, but less well for broadleaved trees with their more complicated crown architecture. Overall, the current study provides an in-depth numerical investigation of material properties, geometric properties and boundary conditions to create further understanding of vibration behaviour in trees. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Wind Loading on Scaled Down Fractal Tree Models of Major Urban Tree Species in Singapore
Forests 2020, 11(8), 803; https://doi.org/10.3390/f11080803 - 25 Jul 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 756
Abstract
Estimation of the aerodynamic load on trees is essential for urban tree management to mitigate the risk of tree failure. To assess that in a cost-effective way, scaled down tree models and numerical simulations were utilized. Scaled down tree models reduce the cost [...] Read more.
Estimation of the aerodynamic load on trees is essential for urban tree management to mitigate the risk of tree failure. To assess that in a cost-effective way, scaled down tree models and numerical simulations were utilized. Scaled down tree models reduce the cost of experimental studies and allow the studies to be conducted in a controlled environment, namely in a wind or water tunnel, but the major challenge is to construct a tree model that resembles the real tree. We constructed 3D-printed scaled down fractal tree models of major urban tree species in Singapore using procedural modelling, based on species-specific growth processes and field statistical data gathered through laser scanning of real trees. The tree crowns were modelled to match the optical porosity of real trees. We developed a methodology to model the tree crowns using porous volumes filled with randomized tetrahedral elements. The wind loads acting on the tree models were then measured in the wind tunnel and the velocity profiles from selected models were captured using particle image velocimetry (PIV). The data was then used for the validation of Large Eddy Simulations (LES), in which the trees were modelled via a discretized momentum sink with 10–20 elements in width, height, and depth, respectively. It is observed that the velocity profiles and drag of the simulations and the wind tunnel tests are in reasonable agreement. We hence established a clear relationship between the measured bulk drag on the tree models in the wind tunnel, and the local drag coefficients of the discretized elements in the simulations. Analysis on the bulk drag coefficient also shows that the effect of complex crown shape could be more dominant compared to the frontal optical porosity. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Ecosystem Management of Eastern Canadian Boreal Forests: Potential Impacts on Wind Damage
Forests 2020, 11(5), 578; https://doi.org/10.3390/f11050578 - 21 May 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 715
Abstract
Research Highlights: Windthrow can interfere significantly with ecosystem management practices. In some cases, their goal could still be reached but this may prove more complex in other cases, like the partial cutting of old-growth stands. In situations where windthrow is common without any [...] Read more.
Research Highlights: Windthrow can interfere significantly with ecosystem management practices. In some cases, their goal could still be reached but this may prove more complex in other cases, like the partial cutting of old-growth stands. In situations where windthrow is common without any human intervention, the use of partial cutting to maintain some stand structures may lead to a feedback loop leading to additional windthrow. Background and Objectives: Forest ecosystem management using natural disturbances as a template has become the management paradigm in many regions. Most of the time, the focus is on fire regime and effects. However, windthrow can be common in some places or can interfere with practices implemented in an ecosystem management strategy. This paper looks at interactions between ecosystem management and windthrow. Materials and Methods: The paper builds on three case studies looking at various elements that could be part of ecosystem management strategies. The first one looks at the impact of green tree retention, while the second one looks at the impact of reducing the size and dispersing clearcuts, and the last one examines the impact of a range of cutting practices in irregular old-growth stands. Results: Green tree retention leads to increased windthrow, especially when applied within mature even-aged stands. Reducing the size of clearcuts and dispersing them over the landscape also involves substantial windthrow along edges. Partial cutting in old-growth stands can lead to relatively high mortality, but part of it is not necessarily related to wind since it occurs as standing dead trees. Differences in the amount of damage with tree size and species have been found and could be used to reduce wind damage. Conclusions: Approaches to minimize wind damage in ecosystem management can be designed using existing knowledge. However, using windthrow as a template to design management strategies would prove more complex. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Evaluating the Likelihood of Tree Failure in Naples, Florida (United States) Following Hurricane Irma
Forests 2020, 11(5), 485; https://doi.org/10.3390/f11050485 - 25 Apr 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 873
Abstract
Trees in residential landscapes provide many benefits, but can injure persons and damage property when they fail. In hurricane-prone regions like Florida, USA, the regular occurrence of hurricanes has provided an opportunity to assess factors that influence the likelihood of wind-induced tree failure [...] Read more.
Trees in residential landscapes provide many benefits, but can injure persons and damage property when they fail. In hurricane-prone regions like Florida, USA, the regular occurrence of hurricanes has provided an opportunity to assess factors that influence the likelihood of wind-induced tree failure and develop species failure profiles. We assessed open-grown trees in Naples, Florida, following the passage of Hurricane Irma in September 2017 to determine the effect of relevant factors on the degree of damage sustained by individual trees. Of 4034 assessed individuals (n = 15 species), 74% sustained no damage, 4% sustained only minor damage (i.e., minimal corrective pruning needed), 6% sustained significant damage (i.e., major corrective pruning needed), and 15% were whole-tree failures (i.e., overturned trees or trees requiring removal). The proportion of individuals in each damage category varied among species, stem diameter at 1.4 m above ground, and the presence of utility lines, which was a proxy for maintenance. We compared our results with the findings of seven previous hurricanes in the region to explore species’ resilience in hurricanes. Full article
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