Wind Risk to Forests and Trees: Transferring Knowledge to Practitioners

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From 12th to 15th November a workshop for professional arborists and managers responsible for tree safety was held in Villenave D’Ornon and Pierroton, France and was attended by 14 people. The course was organised by Cabinet Vincent DELLUS of La-Roche-Sur-Yon and entitled “Ancrage Racinaire et Stabilite de L’arbre au Vent”.

The course consisted of a series of lectures, laboratory exercises, and field trials on tree pulling and root excavation. Lectures were provided by Vincent Dellus of Cabinet Dellus, Yves Brunet, Celine Meredieu and Frederic Danjon of INRA, and Barry Gardiner of EFIPLANT.

On the morning of 14 November, Barry Gardiner instructed the attendees in the use of wind damage risk models. The morning started with a lecture on wind risk modelling at the forest stand and individual tree level entitled “Modèles de Risque de Dégâts à Cause du Vent pour les Forêts et les Arbres”. It included brief demonstrations of the use of the ForêtTempête model in a stand-alone version, and integrated within the R statistical package and accessed from GIS and Excel©.

This was followed by a set of exercises for the participants to use the model on their computers and to test the impact of changing species, tree height and diameter, inter-tree spacing, soils and rooting depth and the presence of a new forest edge on the level of risk.

Map of critical wind speeds for wind damage to maritime pine forest stands in the Landes Département of Nouvelle-Aquitaine, France.
The calculations were made within QGIS© using the ForêtTempête model.

Such direct interaction with practitioners is invaluable for researchers. In particular it helps to identify possible weaknesses in the models and to be alerted to the critical information required by practitioners to make decisions on trees that are of concern. This will help to improve the models for future use and to encourage use of the models by the forestry and arboricultural sector as the risk of wind damage becomes of increasing concern in the changing climate.


Article by Barry Gardiner

Photo: Frederic Danjon discussing root excavation with course attendees. Courtesy of Vincent Dellus.