Thousands of federal, state and private agencies have been deployed to areas that were impacted by hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Maria and Nate. These first responders are there to help the people in the storm’s path. However, there is another group of responders that go into storm-ravaged towns to aid the trees: the Urban Forest Strike Teams (UFST).
This 10-year-old program is a nationwide collaborative effort among state forestry agencies funded and trained through the U.S. Forest Service’s Urban and Community Forestry Program. Since 2007, the Southern UFST has been activated 12 times and mobilized across the South in response to hurricanes, tornadoes, and ice storms.
The catalyst for the creation of UFST was Hurricane Katrina. Widespread tree damage prompted the International Society of Arboriculture, Davey Resource Group and USFS to deploy certified arborists into at least nine communities along the Mississippi/Louisiana Gulf Coast. [Read more…]