Skip to comments.Hurricanes [Katrina & Rita] produced largest forestry disaster [AND GW!!]
Posted on 11/16/2007 7:36:51 AM PST by ProtectOurFreedom
New satellite imaging has revealed that hurricanes Katrina and Rita produced the largest single forestry disaster on record in America - an essentially unreported ecological catastrophe that killed or severely damaged some 320 million trees in Mississippi and Louisiana.
The die-off, caused initially by wind and later by the pooling of stagnant water, was so massive that researchers say it will add significantly to the greenhouse gas buildup - ultimately putting as much carbon from dying vegetation into the air as the rest of the American forest takes out in a year of photosynthesis.
In addition, the downing of so many trees has opened vast and sometimes fragile tracts of land to several aggressive and fast-growing exotic species that are already squeezing out far more environmentally productive native species.
The new assessment of trees killed or severely damaged comes from a study to be released today in the journal Science, written primarily by researchers at Tulane University in New Orleans who studied images from two NASA satellites.
(Excerpt) Read more at mercurynews.com ...
Somebody ping Drudge...
Women, minorities and poor hit hardest.
‘...it will add significantly to the greenhouse gas buildup - ultimately putting as much carbon from dying vegetation into the air as the rest of the American forest takes out in a year of photosynthesis.’
So in other words, the forest and nature are in balance in only one year, great, thanks for the update Mr. Science
Perhaps the firewood business will BOOM and pull the US out of the MAJOR EConomic DEPRESSION that the Media has been telling us about..the northeast could heat their homes with wood and cut oil imporst in Half...
“In addition, the downing of so many trees has opened vast and sometimes fragile tracts of land to several aggressive and fast-growing exotic species that are already squeezing out far more environmentally productive native species.”
And these exotic species don’t need CO2 to grow, right?
~sigh~ the sky is truly falling~
Turn Kudzu into ethanol!
The city of LA just completed a 40 million tree planting campaign.
Of course, they cannot account for where the trees are or who got them.
Did anyone count the number of trees killed when Mt. St Helen blew?
They got a REAL twofer there... Tons of ash and CO2 along with, God only knows, how many dead trees.
Gee, it is so amazing that we are still here despite the death of a tree.
I am now waiting for a study on the CO2 impact of mowed grass, and my nightly snoring.
“catastrophe that killed or severely damaged some 320 million trees in Mississippi and Louisiana”
That’s funny, it seems that Texas was not affected by Rita vis a vis omission in this article. You’d never know that if you drove around the Beaumont/Port Arthur/Orange area. The folks were evacuated for weeks and blue tarps were on roofs crushed by falling trees for more than a year as people waited for insurance settlements. But there were no Aaron Broussards, Ray Nagins, or Kathleen Blanco’s encouraging unrest or a populace bent on looting for the media to champion. Only a community working hard and pulling together to put the pieces back with little help from outside forces but a significant effort from local and surrounding churches who made more difference in peoples lives than FEMA cards could.
The average forest has 820 trees/acre which means 320 million trees lost should represent an area of 610 sq. mi. of forest.
In all, 2100 sq. mi. were under water at one point in both states, most of it (1700) in Mississippi.
So I suppose that the trees in question were more likely the sort of trees you see driving along the highways and city streets at about 160 trees/acre.
This year’s fires out west stripped the land over a 1,200 sq. mi. area to the Mexican border releasing most of the CO2 in that short of a period of time while the downed and rotting trees in the hurricanes’ path will take many years to rot, releasing their carbon slowly over time.
How can one be qualitatively defined as “worst?”
Excellent point. The hype is appalling and comes from not knowing basic facts and failing to do some simple arithmetic.
Question: What area of forest are we talking about with 300 million trees?
Question: What % of the total forest area of the US is that?
Question: What is the annual net growth of forests in terms of carbon sequestering?
Question: What is the annual rate of actual carbon release of these impacted trees?
Given reasonable estimates of the above I believe the hype in the article is grossly exaggerated. I will wait for the article before revealing my calculation.
Prof: You may be right on your estimate of 820 per acre but that translates into 1 tree for roughly 5 sq yds ( approx 7’ x 7’ )which means we are talking about some pretty small or tightly packed trees.
Would you agree to an estimate of about 1000 sq miles which gives approximately 500 trees per acre - all of which needed to die off!!
I do not see how the numbers make sense.
Bingo! The old trees will decay at, oh, just about the same rate as the new ones grow.
And how many trees in Mississippi do they think were killed by Rita?
THIS IS ACTUALLY JUST PERFECT
It opens a moral dilemma for liberals who by carbon offsets. The theory of carbon offsets is to plant a tree that will take carbon out of the atmosphere and store its wood. In theory, a gian Redwood could store the carbon for 1000 years.
But what happens when a tree dies, or even worse, is burned in a CaliforniKA wildfire. All that carbon is released!!
My answer is to sell these stupid liberal Carbon offset insurance.
Just great ! Frickin Great!
Just how many times do we all have to die before we die!
We’re all going to die ! Again!!!
This just in....”If you’ve ever lived ....you’re going to die”
Got the numbers off google; sounds a little dense to me, too.
Most forests go up and down hills while most improved lots are graded so, without knowing the average tree size in question, it is still a guess.
My point is that there doesn’t seem to be a concern here beyond hype.
We do know that most of the flooding occurred in low-lying areas and the total area flooded was 2,100 sq. mi. which was populated along the shorelines and for miles inland.
But what happens when a tree dies, or even worse, is burned in a CaliforniKA wildfire
It “leaves” or “barks” ?????
The timber companies did a pretty good job of salvaging what they could of the downed trees. Almost all of the downed trees that could not be salvaged were put through chippers and then burnt. I can't find my pics of the debris sites but they covered acres with piles 20-30 feet high.
This was the scene for about 100 miles inland.
The picture is very helpful - both in seeing the damage, % of tree lost and the density of the forest. However, while 300 million sounds like a lot of trees it is in fact a minuscle % of what we have. Moreover, that carbon is only significantly released if the trees are burned.
Oh I know they are hyping it but living here and seeing the extreme damage was mind boggling. The timber industry was quick to clear the damage and replant. The majority of the trees commercially grown are loblolly or slash pine plus a few long leaf pines. They grow very fast. There was a lot of hardwood tree damage but many areas are already recovering nicely as it always does in nature. I understand more clearly why there are so many ancient live oaks. They barely lost their leaves and were still standing.
I am a great fan of live oaks as well. They helped turn the USS Constitution into “Old Iron Sides”!!
~~ AGW ping~~
Then those not burned have already been sequestered as stored timber and should not be counted in the report at hand.
320 million such trees could be managed within a 1,200 sq. mi. area prior to the storm and cut on schedule.
The fact that they were prematurely broken by the storm doesn’t add anything to the future load they represented before the event.
There are 48,000 square miles in the state of Mississippi alone.
We’re talking a matter of scale here- 320 million trees doesn’t amount to much compared to the land area of the continental U.S.
There are 320 million bacteria in a square inch of countertop in most kitchens - what’s the CO2 load of all the decaying bacteria worldwide?