ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202205.0282.v1
Subject: Biology And Life Sciences, Agricultural Science And Agronomy Keywords: cyclone; defect; hurricane; likelihood of failure; storm damage; typhoon; urban ecology; urban forestry
Online: 21 May 2022 (11:03:18 CEST)
Urban trees are often more sun- and wind-exposed than their forest-grown counterparts. These environmental differences can impact how many species grow – impacting trunk taper, crown spread, branch architecture, and other aspects of tree form. Given these differences, windthrow models derived from traditional forest production data sources may not be appropriate for urban forest management. Additionally, visual abnormalities historically labeled as “defects” in timber production may not have a significant impact on tree failure potential. In this study, we look at urban tree failures associated with Hurricane Irma in Tampa, Florida, USA. We used spatial analysis to determine if patterns of failure existed among our inventoried trees. We also looked at risk assessment data to determine which visual defects were the most common and the most likely to be associated with branch or whole-tree failure. Results indicate that there was no spatial pattern associated with the observed tree failures – trees failed or withstood the storm as individuals. While some defects like decay and dead wood were associated with increased tree failure, other defects like weak branch unions and poor branch architecture were less problematic.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202304.0970.v1
Subject: Biology And Life Sciences, Forestry Keywords: tree risk assessment; decay; resistance drilling; tomography; tree risk assessment qualification; tree stem
Online: 26 April 2023 (07:41:38 CEST)
Arborists commonly investigate the extent of stem decay to assess the likelihood of stem failure when conducting tree risk assessments. Studies have shown that (i) arborists can sometimes judge the extent of internal decay based on external signs; (ii) sophisticated tools can reliably illustrate the extent of internal decay; and (iii) assessing components of tree risk can be highly subjective. We recruited 18 experienced tree risk assessors who held the International Society of Arboriculture’s Tree Risk Assessment Qualification (TRAQ) to assess the likelihood of stem failure due to decay after each of 5 consecutive assessments on 30 individuals of 2 genera. Five assessment techniques, in stepwise order, were 1) visual, 2) sounding the trunk with a mallet, 3) viewing a scaled diagram of the cross-section that revealed sound and decayed wood ascertained from resistance drilling, 4) viewing sonic and electrical resistance tomograms, and 5) consulting with a peer. For each technique, assessors assigned two or more likelihood of failure ratings (LoFRs) for at least 83% of trees, which were proportionally greatest after assessors viewed tomograms; the proportions did not differ among the other four assessment techniques. Covariates that influenced the distribution of LoFRs included percent of the cross-section that was decayed, and assessors’ experience using resistance drilling devices and tomography in regular practice. Practitioners should be aware that disagreement on the likelihood of tree failure exists even among experienced arborists.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202303.0531.v1
Subject: Biology And Life Sciences, Biology And Biotechnology Keywords: bifurcation; cyclone; forks; hurricane; tree biomechanics; tree risk assessment; typhoon
Online: 30 March 2023 (12:55:40 CEST)
Practitioners who assess the risk associated with urban trees often factor in the presence or absence of visual tree defects when determining whether a tree may fail. While these defects are a main fixture in many tree risk assessment systems and best management practices, the research supporting their usefulness in predicting tree failure during storms is limited. When looking at past research involving populations of storm-damaged trees, there are several defects that have never predicted failure (or have been associated with reduced rates of failure). In this study, we took a closer look at four such defects: codominant branches; branch unions with included bark; multiple stems originating from the same point; and overextended branches. After Hurricane Ian, we revisited 1519 risk assessed trees where one of these four defects was identified as the primary condition of concern. Fourteen of these trees experienced branch failure during the storm (which hit the study area as a downgraded tropical storm). Upon closer inspection, none of these failures occurred at the defect of concern. Our findings indicate that none of the defects assessed appeared to increase the likelihood of tree failure in the species tested. Our results are in line with past research on these defects derived from post-storm assessments and analysis.
Subject: Biology And Life Sciences, Forestry Keywords: hurricane; tree risk assessment; urban forest strike team; species failure profile; likelihood of failure
Online: 24 April 2020 (04:37:51 CEST)
Trees in residential landscapes provide many benefits, but can injure persons and damage property when they fail. In hurricane-prone regions like Florida, USA, the regular occurrence of hurricanes has provided an opportunity to assess factors that influence the likelihood of wind-induced tree failure and develop species failure profiles. We assessed open-grown trees in Naples, Florida, following the passage of Hurricane Irma in September 2017 to determine the effect of relevant factors on the degree of damage sustained by individual trees. Of 4,034 assessed individuals (n = 15 species), 74% sustained no damage, 4% sustained only minor damage (i.e., minimal corrective pruning needed), 6% sustained significant damage (i.e., major corrective pruning needed), and 15% were whole tree failures (i.e., overturned trees or trees requiring removal). The proportion of individuals in each damage category varied among species, stem diameter at 1.4 m above ground, and the presence of utility lines, which was a proxy for maintenance. We compared our results with the findings of seven previous hurricanes in the region to explore species’ resilience in hurricanes.