Metro parks crews are busy helping the city clear streets of debris and trees after last Sunday’s windstorm. Next, they’ll turn their attention to clearing park trails. Giant felled trees have blocked many trails. And partially felled trees pose dangers with fragile branches hanging overhead. Felled trees have also created new openings in previously shaded areas. Parks natural resources manager Bennett Knox says the priority, post-storm, will be making sure that no invasive species take root in the newly created sunny spots.
“The longer term issue from an ecology standpoint is what that opening means, and what we need to do to help it establish in the way we want it to establish, re-establish,” says Knox.
Knox says there are bright sides to the storm’s impact. One is that tree species like tulip poplar are quick-growing and will likely fill in openings first. The other is that downed trees can create new habitat for wildlife.