The ForestGALES computer based decision support tool enables forest managers to estimate the probability of wind damage to any conifer stand in Britain:
- Probability of overturning and stem breakage
- Current risk to a stand
- Risk over the life of the crop
- Risk to any number of stands may be calculated simultaneously
- DAMS windiness scores for the whole of Britain are provided.
Economic impact of wind damage
Wind damage is a major threat to economic management of forests in Britain, recent examples include the effects of the storms in 1987, 1990, 1998 and 2005.
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 both prevention and prediction of damage 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.