Crews to Survey Nebraska Tree Resources

Crews to Survey Nebraska Tree Resources

May 15, 2009

173 Rural Windbreaks Included

As part of the Great Plains Tree and Forest Invasives Initiative, approximately 250 randomly selected plots across Nebraska will be visited to evaluate the state's tree resources.

Beginning the end of May, three 2-person crews will be surveying 173 rural windbreak plots in 60 counties and 80 urban plots in Lincoln and Omaha.

This year's inventory is a continuation of the work conducted last summer. Inventory crews will contact landowners before accessing plots on private property.

"Last year, landowners were very receptive to our inventory efforts, so we hope we have the same cooperation this year," said Steve Rasmussen, Nebraska Forest Service district forester and coordinator of the Great Plains Tree and Forest Invasives Initiative.

The initiative is a joint effort of state forestry agencies in Nebraska, Kansas, North Dakota, and South Dakota to prepare for the arrival of invasive species in the Great Plains. The agencies are assessing the region's tree resources, determining and addressing the potential impacts of invasives to those resources, creating public awareness of invasive species and promoting species diversity. The initiative is funded by a U.S. Forest Service grant and matching state funds.

Understanding the state's tree and forest resources is important because invasive pests, such as emerald ash borer, pose a tremendous threat to Nebraska.

Data to be Gathered

For each plot the survey will record:

  • Number, species, diameter, and height of trees
  • Land use
  • Tree health based on the percent of canopy dieback within each tree
  • Distance from buildings for energy computations
  • Function of trees, such as windbreaks

The survey data will be analyzed by the U.S. Forest Service to provide a picture of the tree and forest resources throughout the northern plains. This information will help natural resource professionals estimate economic impacts of invasive species, as well as the volume and location of wood that will be generated by trees lost to invasive pests.

Each inventory plot is 1/6 acre and was selected by the U.S. Forest Service National Inventory and Monitoring Applications Center in Newtown Square, Pa.

Becky Erdkamp
Education and Outreach Specialist, Nebraska Forest Service
IANR News Release