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Author Topic: Snow storm damage  (Read 2155 times)

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Offline straightree

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Snow storm damage
« on: January 25, 2009, 03:44:16 PM »
Hello,

We have experienced a very damaging snow storm in my region, North East Catalonia (Spain). We are close to the Pyrenees Mountains, and there it snows most winters, at altitudes above 2.000 m. But last December, we had a very bad snow storm just above 500 m. The snow was very sticky and of high density, and accumulated on tree branches. The weight of snow broke many of these branches, and whole trees, even some were uprooted. I have created a picture album at http://www.forestryforum.com/gallery/thumbnails.php?album=2148. Particularly affected were evergreen oaks (Quercus Ilex), since they keep leaves during winter, and thus have a big surface to collect snow. The eldest people in the region do not remember any thing similar.

There will be economical help from the administration to undertake works, but probably will not come in sufficient amount, so that priorities should be established. It is to be pointed out that forest covers 70% of land surface in the region, and, in general its operation is economically non viable, so there is little work, most of it dependent on government help. The main concern is increase of fire risk, usually quite high during summer months.

I have some questions, and will appreciate to hear opinions.

-   Is snow damage in forests common in some areas of USA?
-   Has any one had experience with such occurrence?
-   What is the usual action plan in these cases?


 


An example of his pictures in his Gallery- Tom

Offline Kevin

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Re: Snow storm damage
« Reply #1 on: January 25, 2009, 06:27:58 PM »
We don't have much in the way of snow damage, most of the damage we experience is due to ice or wind.

Offline Clark

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Re: Snow storm damage
« Reply #2 on: January 25, 2009, 08:27:22 PM »
I've never heard of strictly snow damage.  Usually it is freezing rain or snow and wind that will start taking out trees. 

When damage does occur it is up to the individual landowner to decide what to do with it.  I've never heard of government assistance for dealing with damaged forests.  If the timber is valuable enough, a harvest of some sort can be used to get rid of the damaged, dead or declining trees.

Clark
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Offline Tillaway

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Re: Snow storm damage
« Reply #3 on: January 25, 2009, 09:26:19 PM »
Snow damage is infrequent however the area I work in sustained extensive snow damage in just a month ago.  Much worse than your area it looks like.

It looks like government money will be spent and fire danger is your major concern from what I understand.

Work with the local fire fire fighting agencies to develop priorities for fuels reduction work.   Fuels reduction is tree thinning and brush disposal work within say about 500 meters of communities at risk from wildfire.

The trees can be salvaged for local needs (firewood, lumber, hog fuel, animal bedding) the brush / slash can be chipped or piled and burned in the fall.  Also a controlled broadcast burn could be used to remove slash and brush as well but requires large crews and good timing.



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Offline Left Coast Chris

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Re: Snow storm damage
« Reply #4 on: January 25, 2009, 10:15:39 PM »
We have had some snow damage in the past.  Home owners insurance helped in some cases.

In a nearby community that did not get snow damage but have had wild fires in the summer right up to town, the locals partnered with the Forset Service (Federal Government).  They formed a forest management group and negotiated a agreement with the Forest Service to allow them to manage the federally controled forest around the town.  The group can decide how the federal dollars will be best spent to protect the community.
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Offline John Mc

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Re: Snow storm damage
« Reply #5 on: January 26, 2009, 11:53:03 AM »
We do get some very minor damage (broken branches or the occasional tree down) from snow or ice on a fairly regular basis here in my area. Usually, if the whole tree comes down, it's one that was on it's way out anyway, or growing in an area with thin or poor soils prone to that. There was one particularly bad ice storm here in the late 1990's. There was enough damage that federal assistance was available for clean-up/salvage operations.
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Online chevytaHOE5674

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Re: Snow storm damage
« Reply #6 on: January 26, 2009, 01:50:44 PM »
We get a ton of snow (16+ feet usually) and rarely do we get damage directly from the snow. When we get damage it is freezing rain/ice and wind or snow on top of ice and wind. But most of the tree species present in the region are well adapted to snow loading.

In the event of snow damage; individual homeowners are responsible for their trees, state and fed gov't clear roads and city property, utilities clear their right of ways. Within the forest sometimes salvage harvests take place, but like I said we don't have much damage. Usually it is just a select few trees that die, and not on a large enough scale to do any harvesting.

Offline straightree

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Re: Snow storm damage
« Reply #7 on: January 27, 2009, 10:47:53 AM »
Thank you for all your comments. Reading them, it seems to me that some ice, or a mixture of snow and ice could have been the cause of dammage. I retain specially your recommendations to treat the problem as a global one, rather than dilute it to every forest owner, and getting the help of fire prevention people, to better allocate scarce resources.

Offline straightree

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Re: Snow storm damage
« Reply #8 on: February 11, 2009, 01:45:43 PM »
It seems to me that the trees that are straight and have  narrow crowns have been the less damaged. It is no wonder that a big and spread crown is a liability, not only for ice storm, but also for wind. Being so, it seems that a stand with high density, or a bit crowded, would be better than one with low density, since it promotes small crowns. This does not favor rapid increase of trunk diameters, but maybe is a price worth to be payed.
What do you think?

Offline ErikC

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Re: Snow storm damage
« Reply #9 on: February 11, 2009, 02:13:27 PM »
  Here when it snows a lot at a lower elevation than usual, there is a lot of damage because of the accumulation of weaker limbs and trees that would have been naturally pruned out up where it snows every winter. Then they fall and knock other trees down and break them up. When it's windy after a heavy snow there is worse destruction. Your description of the snow seemed unusually low for your area.
  I will let a forester answer your question about crown size. :)
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Offline PAFaller

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Re: Snow storm damage
« Reply #10 on: March 14, 2009, 08:42:36 PM »
PA had some snow related damage two winters ago. Many of the oaks had yet to drop their leaves and we had a rather heavy wet snow that accumulated on the trees, just as you described, and toppled quite a few on the logging job I was working. In fact we had to hike in, get our machine, and skid some out of the access road. We talked to the landowner and he allowed the mill to buy them at the same rate as the rest of the timber sale, so we tallied each of the blown down stems as we salvaged them, and at the end of the job he got another check from the mill we were contract cutting for. Worked out well for him, having a crew onsite already to open up the access road that went to our landing and his camp, as well as to clean up a dozen or so trees that were toppled. It would have been too little for anyone to move a machine in for so it probably would have just been firewood otherwise.
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