ForestGALES 2015 logoThe ForestGALES computer based decision support tool enables forest managers to estimate the probability of wind damage to any conifer stand in Britain. 

ForestGALES calculates:

  • The wind speed that would be expected to damage a stand
  • Current risk of overturning and stem breakage
  • Change in risk over the life of the crop
  • The effect on risk of thinning and creation of brown edges
  • Risk to any number of stands may be calculated simultaneously

Economic impact of wind damage

Wind damage is a major threat to economic management of forests in Britain. Recent damaging storms include those in 1987, 1990, 1998, 2005 and 2012.

Wind damage results in both direct costs (additional cost of harvesting and reduced timber value) and indirect costs (loss of amenity and danger to forest workers). The threat of wind damage has restricted silviculture and led to the the use of shortened rotations with precautionary felling in anticipation of windthrow. This results in decreased income from timber sales.

Research into forest wind risk has been carried out in Britain for more than 30 years. ForestGALES draws together the knowledge derived from this work to provide a user friendly decision support tool for forest managers.