Relationships between common forest metrics and realized impacts of Hurricane Katrina on forest resources in Mississippi
This paper compares and contrasts hurricane-related damage recorded across the Mississippi landscape in the 2 years following Katrina with initial damage assessments based on modeled parameters by the USDA Forest Service. Logistic and multiple regressions are used to evaluate the influence of stand characteristics on tree damage probability. Specifically, this paper addresses four primary questions related to post-hurricane damage: (1) do inventory data substantiate damage zone estimates made using remotely sensed and climate data following Hurricane Katrina; (2) were softwoods or hardwoods more susceptible to hurricane damage and does that susceptibility change as distance from landfall increases; (3) what are the primary stand-level factors influencing vulnerability to damage, based on observed damage and measured stand characteristics, and; (4) is tree-level damage related to tree species, and do damage types (bole, branch, lean, or windthrow) differ by species?We were able to accept the hypothesis that damage differed among the developed zones, and to confirm the acceptability of the figures initially generated. However, we were not able to accept the hypothesis that softwoods experienced more damage than hardwoods. Our data showed a marked increase in damage to hardwood species, except in the first zone of impact. Additionally, the likelihood of hardwood damage increased with increasing distance from the zone of impact. However, species group was confounded with the other predictor variables in many cases, making it difficult to separate the effects of each variable.