Thursday, September 25, 2008

Virginia Team Helps Preserve Louisiana Trees

A team of urban forestry specialists from the Virginia Department of Forestry (VDOF) went to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, to assess the health and viability of the trees damaged during Hurricane Gustav.

Damaged trees were examined and inventoried. Trees with extensive damage, or that posed a threat to public safety, were recommended for removal. Pruning was suggested to repair damaged crowns. In addition, the health of trees not damaged by the hurricane was determined and inventoried.

Paul Revell, director of Urban and Community Forestry, said, "Trees in urban areas have significant value to members of the community. Restoring the historical and aesthetic aspect of a community is vital to an area’s recovery following an extreme weather event."

All the team members are Certified Arborists who have storm damage assessment training. GIS technology is used to collect data and recommendations, and the tree locations were catalogued with aerial photos and GIS coordinates. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) reimburses the community for tree damage based on the assessment process.