Moser, W.K. and Nelson, M.D. 2009. Windstorm Damage in Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (Minnesota, USA): Evaluating Landscape-level Risk Factors. Baltic Forestry, 15 (2): 248-254
Ecosystem management requires an understanding of disturbance processes and their influence on forests. One of these disturbances is damage due to severe wind events. In an ideal model, assessing risk of windstorm damage to a forested ecosystem entails defining tree-, stand-, and landscape-level factors that influence response and recovery. Data are not always available for all three scales, but a wealth of geospatial datasets provides consistent opportunities for analysis at the landscape level. This paper examines landscape-level factors that influenced tree damage from a 1999 windstorm in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in northern Minnesota, USA. A geospatial analysis was conducted using a suite of data variables derived from land cover, topographic, and climatic datasets. Land type association, distance to the nearest lake, and elevation were the most significant factors influencing wind storm damage. These variables highlight the importance of exposure to the wind as determinants of damage, reflecting the severity of this particular storm.
Key words: Landscape, windstorm, blowdown, risk, wilderness, Minnesota USA