Relationships between common forest metrics and realized impacts of Hurricane Katrina on forest resources in Mississippi


This paper compares and contrasts hurricane-related damage recorded across the Mississippi landscape in the 2 years following Katrina with initial damage assessments based on modeled parameters by the USDA Forest Service. Logistic and multiple regressions are used to evaluate the influence of stand characteristics on tree damage probability. Specifically, this paper addresses four primary questions related to post-hurricane damage: (1) do inventory data substantiate damage zone estimates made using remotely sensed and climate data following Hurricane Katrina; (2) were softwoods or hardwoods more susceptible to hurricane damage and does that susceptibility change as distance from landfall increases; (3) what are the primary stand-level factors influencing vulnerability to damage, based on observed damage and measured stand characteristics, and; (4) is tree-level damage related to tree species, and do damage types (bole, branch, lean, or windthrow) differ by species?We were able to accept the hypothesis that damage differed among the developed zones, and to confirm the acceptability of the figures initially generated. However, we were not able to accept the hypothesis that softwoods experienced more damage than hardwoods. Our data showed a marked increase in damage to hardwood species, except in the first zone of impact. Additionally, the likelihood of hardwood damage increased with increasing distance from the zone of impact. However, species group was confounded with the other predictor variables in many cases, making it difficult to separate the effects of each variable.

  • Citation: Oswalt, Sonja N.; Oswalt, Christopher M. 2008. Relationships between common forest metrics and realized impacts of Hurricane Katrina on forest resources in Mississippi. Forest Ecology and Management, Vol. 255: 1692-1700
  • Keywords: Hurricane Katrina, forest, inventory, Mississippi
  • Posted Date: April 16, 2008
  • Modified Date: April 17, 2019
  • Requesting Print Publications

    Publication requests are subject to availability. Fiscal responsibility limits the hardcopies of publications we produce and distribute. Electronic versions of publications may be downloaded, distributed and printed.

    Please make any requests at

    Publication Notes

    • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.
    • Our online publications are scanned and captured using Adobe Acrobat. During the capture process some typographical errors may occur. Please contact the SRS webmaster if you notice any errors which make this publication unusable.
    • To view this article, download the latest version of Adobe Acrobat Reader.