Conceptual framework for improved wind-related forest threat assessment in the Southeastern United StatesThis article is part of a larger document. View the larger document here.
In the Southeastern United States, forests are subject to a variety of damage-causing wind phenomena that range in scale from very localized (downbursts and tornadoes) to broad spatial scales (hurricanes). Incorporating the threat of wind damage into forest management plans requires tools capable of assessing risk across this range of scales. Our conceptual approach involves breaking down the risk into components of event risk and resource vulnerability. Event risk can be simply stated as the probability of an event of a certain magnitude occurring in a given area and can be evaluated based on climatology. For wind related threats, resource vulnerability is determined by a complex function of stand and site characteristics. Although there is little that can be done to mitigate event risk, resource vulnerability can be manipulated through management activities. We have proposed a framework that includes a hierarchy of models for evaluating forest vulnerability to wind damage across a range of scales (from an individual tree, to a forest stand, up to the landscape scale); which, when combined with climatological models of event risk will provide a consistent wind-related threat-assessment tool.