A First-Approximation Windthrow Risk Index for Street Trees on the Halifax Peninsula
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Trees in the Halifax Regional Municipality are at particular risk to windthrow because of their proximity to the coast, and the risk of increasing storminess in the future. This study aimed to create a vulnerability index to determine the susceptibility of individual trees and neighbourhoods to wind events in the future on the Halifax Peninsula. Trees were analyzed based on specific characteristics: genus, height, diameter at breast height, distance from nearest building, height of nearest building, pruning, site conditions, distance from coast and elevation, Data from one hundred trees across the Halifax Peninsula were used to demonstrate the utility of the index. It was determined that the most susceptible trees were scattered across the Peninsula. However, the most vulnerable neighbourhood was located on the southwest coast, in the direction of the prevailing winds that pass through in the summer. Results from this study can be applied to the rest of the Halifax Regional Municipality to determine the entire region’s susceptibility to windthrow. Future research could be conducted to further analyze the most vulnerable regions, and to determine which tree characteristics contribute the most to trees’ vulnerability to windthrow.