The Urban Forest Strike Team deployed by the US Forest Service completed their survey of the tornado damaged area on Tuesday August 16. The strike team included arborists from around the North East who traveled from several Massachusetts communities, Connecticut, New Hampshire, New York, Pennsylvania, and Vermont to offer their expertise. The team included 21 volunteers and spent over two weeks in Springfield assisting the city’s forestry division to inventory the extent of the damage to public shade trees.
The team of certified arborists evaluated 280 street trees damaged by the tornado to determine long term viability. They also collected data on 650 existing tree locations. At these sites they identified and measured stumps of removed trees as well as located tipped stumps and vacant planting sites within the public right of way.
The Strike Team also helped the forestry division by making planting recommendations for almost 2,000 new trees including 142 existing inventoried vacant sites as well identifying 1,799 new planting locations throughout the tornado zone not previously identified in the city’s tree inventory.
The data collected by the strike team will be used to evaluate the current state of the damage to the street tree population as well as to plan the reforestation of the tornado impact zone. City forestry staff will have a large pool of potential planting locations from which to prioritize the planting efforts.