Hazardous Tree Management and Post-Disaster Recovery

Every year, millions of trees are destroyed by storms big and small, ranging from thunderstorms in the Midwest to hurricanes along the Gulf Coast and East Coast.

Damaged trees often block roads and fall on buildings and vehicles, sometimes killing or injuring people unfortunate enough to be in their path.

Debris removal costs hundreds of millions of dollars annually.

Trees damaged by storm

PAS Report 555 coverThere are, however, ways to mitigate the damages and costs without simply getting rid of trees, which serve vital ecological, economic, and social functions in the urban environment, a subject documented extensively in APA’s 2009 Planning Advisory Service Report No. 555, Planning the Urban Forest.

The U.S. Forest Service teamed up with APA, with vital in-kind support and participation from the International Society of Arboriculture, to sponsor a two-day scoping session at its office in Washington, D.C., June 16-17, 2014.

Representatives of relevant federal agencies and some other nonprofit organizations were invited, along with several subject matter experts, and the list of those who attended appears below. During the scoping session, the participants discussed problems and potential solutions for better protecting the urban forest during and after disasters.

The pages listed in the menu on the left provide a summary of the discussion, the briefing papers presented by the subject matter experts, and a brief annotated bibliography produced by APA for this project.

The APA Hazards Planning Research Center sincerely hopes that what is presented here is not the end, but the beginning, of an ongoing discussion of these issues that may ultimately yield changes in policies and programs that will help achieve the goals of this project.

The center also thanks its intern, Andreas Safakas, for his work in organizing the many elements of the program and coordinating attendance and logistics among the participants listed below.


Kristyn Abhold, Intern, White House Council on Environmental Quality

Mark Buccowich, Assistant Director of Forest Management, USDA Forest Service

Keith Cline, Director, Fairfax County (VA) Urban Forest Management Division

Eric Davis, President and Founder, Tree Care, Inc.

Mark Duntemann, Owner, Natural Path Urban Forestry Consultants

Claire Hadfield, Intern, U.S. Department of the Interior

Dudley Hartel, Center Manager, USDA Forest Service

Debbie Hill, Emergency Management Specialist, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Office of Homeland Security

Chitra Kumar, Deputy Assistant Director for Water, White House Council on Environmental Quality

Edward LeBlanc, Project Engineer, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Edward Macie, Regional Coordinator, USDA Forest Service

Caroline Massa, New York Sandy Recovery Office, Natural and Cultural Resources Liaison, Federal Emergency Management Agency

James McGlone, Urban Forest Conservationist, Virginia Department of Forestry

Anna Read, Senior Program Development & Research Associate, APA

Phillip Rodbell, Program Manager, USDA Forest Service

David Rouse, AICP, Director of Research and Advisory Services, APA

James Schwab, AICP, Manager, APA Hazards Planning Research Center

Donald Simko, Emergency Management Program Specialist, Federal Emergency Management Agency

James Skiera, Executive Director, International Society of Arboriculture

Thomas Smiley, Arboricultural Researcher, Bartlett Tree Research Laboratory

Howard Stronach, Regulation and Policy Branch Chief, Federal Emergency Management Agency, Public Assistance Division

Linda Wang, Forest Taxation Specialist, USDA Forest Service, State and Private Forestry

Samantha Wangsgard, Fairfax County (VA) Urban Forest Management Division

M.J. Wilson, New York Sandy Recovery Office, Infrastructure Liaison, Federal Emergency Management Agency

Larry Wiseman, Fellow, Virginia Tech, Center for Leadership in Global Sustainability

Karen Zhang, National Coordinator—Natural and Cultural Resource Recovery, U.S. Department of the Interior