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OFA - Wind Damage

Friday, August 4th 2006 5:07:50pm

Interview Opportunity - Dealing with wind damaged trees

Information for landowners from the Ontario Forestry Association

To schedule interviews with Ontario Forestry Association representatives, Contact Don Huff at Environmental Communication Options (cell) 416-805-7720

The Ontario Forestry Association has the following tips for landowners impacted by wind damage from the August 2nd windstorm

1.       Use extreme care with chain saws; this equipment is   extremely dangerous for inexperienced operators.  Trees leaning into standing trees are often under strain and pressure, they can spring back and hit the chain saw operator.

2. Do not attempt to clear any tree from a utility line – wait for the professionals

3. Inspect your standing trees for cracks in the trunk and major limbs – put up flagging tape to demarcate the danger zone, keep people and pets away.

4. Take photos for your insurance claim.

5. Consider a salvage operation if you have a large number of saw logs – 12’ or larger at chest height, especially if they are hardwood or pine.

The Ontario Forestry Association is a non-profit, registered charity. We are dedicated to raising awareness and understanding of all aspects of Ontario's forests, and to develop commitment to stewardship of forest ecosystems.

The OFA has been involved in public education around forestry and environmental issues since the 1940s. Over the years we have been involved in major initiatives involving restoration, commemoration and the management of our forests and natural environment. To this day, we continue to increase public education and knowledge of forestry and environmental issues.

A major initiatives of the Ontario Forestry Association is the oversight of the Managed Forest tax incentive program which offers property tax relief (up to 75% reductions) for landowners with 10 acres or more of forest land – the OFA is organizing free seminars on the MFTIP program across Southern and central Ontario from August to November, a schedule is appended to this note.

A list of Ontario Forestry Consultants can be found at www.oforest.on.ca

Background Information

Identify and Respond to Immediate High Priority Problems:
Immediate safety hazards to people or structures. (Trees "hung up" or under tension are very dangerous to remove. Consider hiring an experienced contractor.)
Blocked or damaged ditches, culverts, and roads. (May result in road wash out, erosion, damage to water and fish habitat)


Conduct A Thorough Damage Assessment:

Walk entire property -- (Good idea to wear your hard hat!)

Make a simple map showing extent and type of damage. --

Blocked roads and trails
-- Trees with broken tops
-- Trees with broken limbs
-- Fallen trees
-- Trees severely bent over

Consider Salvage Harvest of Damaged Trees:

• If a significant number of "log sized" trees (12" or larger diameter at chest high) are downed or have broken tops, consider planning a salvage harvest.

• Contact a professional consulting forester to help you. Consultants can lay out and supervise the sale, and market your timber for maximum return to you. They will know reliable loggers, local market conditions, and regulatory requirements. If possible, make plans to salvage within the first six months after storm damage.

• Take advantage of the opportunity to accomplish other management objectives

• The salvage harvest may also present an opportunity to accomplish other objectives at the same time. Are there overcrowded stands which could benefit from thinning? Trees highly susceptible to future loss?

• Consider retaining some storm-damaged trees and downed debris for wildlife habitat

• Trees with broken tops or large broken limbs, and larger diameter downed wood, provide valuable habitat for wildlife. Choose only trees in areas where they will not be a future safety hazard or impede future management activities.

SPECIFIC TREE PROBLEMS:

Trees with Broken Limbs

If practical, consider pruning to reduce potential for future decay introduced via broken branches. If damage is widespread, this may not be feasible.

Leave broken limbs on trees which will be retained for wildlife habitat, if they will not pose a safety hazard.

Small Trees with Broken Tops and Irreparably Bent Trees

Generally, the higher the break and smaller diameter the break point, the higher the probability that the tree will recover.

Trees bent near or past horizontal will probably not recover.
The best course of action may be to remove damaged trees and replant.

Individual tops, or even entire trees, can sometimes be tied or staked to hasten recovery. This is usually not feasible when large numbers of trees are damaged.

Large Trees with Broken Tops

Consider salvage harvest.

Remove if they will become a safety hazard.

Consider retaining for wildlife habitat, if tree will not become a safety hazard.

The OFA acknowledges the assistance the Washington State Department of Natural Resources as a source for this information sheet.