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Competence Network Climate Change, Risk Management and Transformation in Forest Ecosystems

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Forest Research Institut Baden-Württemberg (FVA)
Department of forest economics

Wonnhaldestr. 4
D-79100 Freiburg

Tel:  +49 761 4018 231
Fax: +49 761 4018 333


Author(s): Jutta Odenthal-Kahabka
Editorial office: FVA, Germany
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A storm event – first measures

Measures in the first days after a storm event on the forest district/ forest office level

Click here to download the Spanish translation (PDF-file)
Freigeschnittener Waldweg

Important connecting roads are being cleared

During the storm
  • Keep cool !
  • Don’t jeopardise yourself or others. This is especially valid for interventions during the storm. Start clearing roads only after the storm is over, unless human lives are endangered.
  • Alarm rescue services (fire brigade, police, medical service) if human beings are endangered.
After the storm event (0-3 days)
  • Alarm the next authorities if severe damage in the forest is to be expected (forest offices, general administration…)
  • Carry on keeping calm! Stop regular felling.
  • Detect and remove direct danger.
  • Open traffic roads and facilities of public interest blocked by damaged timber (priorities should be fixed in advance together with responsible authorities and suppliers) in accordance or collaboration with the rescue services of the fire brigades.
  • Start with the first assessment of the damage. Report the damage to the next authority.
After the storm event (> 3 days)
  • Evaluation of the degree of damage and evaluation of the importance of the event according to the following additional information: (see also chart – Strategy planning):
    • Damaged timber in the own region,
    • Damaged timber in the wider area/ county in relation to the regular annual cut
    • Season while the event took place,
    • Situation on the timber market and general economic situation
    • Situation of forest protection
  • Start detailed assessment of the damage
  • Don’t start logging damaged timber precipitously. Try to get an overview first. Exchange information with colleagues on forest-office/county-level. Carefully plan and coordinate measures with your colleagues.
  • In any case – assess existing labour-capacity and further needs. Plan the order of felling and logging damaged timber (species, assortments).
  • Inform forest owners in a forest owner’s meeting about the amount of damage, possible strategies and – if already known – possibilities of getting subsidies.
  • Try to form a solidarity – community of the forest owners if possible.

Administrative measures in the first days after the storm event (level "Bundesland")

  • Calculate the total amount of damaged timber on the state ("Bundesland", …)-level based on the reports of the local forest offices. Estimate the importance of the event.
  • Inform the public and the political decision makers about the amount of damage.
  • Depending on the amount of damaged timber and the area of the involved regions regular timber felling should be stopped.
  • Review the financial frame-conditions for the state-forest and possibilities and conditions for subsidies in community and private forests within the budgetary negotiations.
  • Improve organisational frame-conditions on the local level (forest offices, districts). E.g. additional personnel, cars, mobilephones, rules concerning overtime work, ...
  • For the state-forest: Develop a business – strategy and first strategic directives for the local authorities on how to deal with the storm-damage. Possible areas to decide on:
    • Centralised or decentralised organisation of timber-felling and logging
    • Order of timber harvesting
    • Funding of other forest-ownerships (e.g. small private forest owners)
    • Labour capacity
    • Aspects of work safety, careful and economic harvesting
  • Planning and coordination of superordinate measures on the landscape level such as application of remote sensing.
  • Development or actualisation of fact-sheets and other aids for local practitioners. (foresters, heads of forest offices e.g. employment of contractors, harvesting systems, wet storage, forest protection, ...) by the ministries or the forest research institutes.
  • Contact forest administrations in other states (Bundesländer, neighbouring countries) to exchange workforce if needed.
  • Prepare first talks with representatives of the sawmills and the timber-market commission.
  • Plan and prepare informative talks with the forest owner associations.
  • Talks to representatives of the ministries for traffic to achieve spezial rules for timber transportation.
  • Talks to representatives of the ministries responsible for simplified approval of irrigation places for wet storage of timber.