Last year’s powerful derecho damaged or destroyed an estimated seven million trees across Iowa, according to a new report from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.
Nick McGrath, a community disaster recovery coordinator, hired by the DNR and the nonprofit Trees Forever, says diversity is key when Iowans replant trees. “I think this does provide a really sad but unique opportunity to replant for resiliency,” McGrath says. “So, taking a look at what is left after the storm and maybe those species are what we should be focusing on.”
According to the report, derecho damage to the urban tree canopy alone amounts to $20 million a year in lost benefits. McGrath discussed how long it might take to replace what was lost. “I think we could see some real results in 30 to 60 years, maybe, if we start now, but the more we delay, the longer it takes,” McGrath says. “If you think about the trees that we lost, if you want to regrow your 100-year-old oak, it’s going to take 100 years.”
The DNR’s analysis finds the derecho damage to the urban tree canopy alone amounts to 90-million dollars’ worth of lost carbon storage. The August 10th, 2020 storm impacted 27 counties along the Highway 30 corridor, primarily in central and east-central Iowa.
(By Kate Payne, Iowa Public Radio)