Ohio State University Extension’s fifth annual Why Trees Matter Forum took place at the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC), where a Sept. 16 tornado strike wiped out about 1,500 trees.
Speakers looked at the social, economic, and environmental benefits of trees in cities and suburbs — the focus of OSU Extension’s Why Trees Matter Signature Program, which sponsored the event. They especially talked about how to measure these benefits in dollars and cents.
Street-tree commissioners, landscapers, nursery operators, utility company representatives, mayors and city council members, and community and economic development officials were among the participants.
The forum went on as planned even though the tornado-damaged main OARDC campus remains closed to the public at large for repairs.
In fact, the storm became a teachable moment. Two new topics were added to the agenda: a GPS-aided inventory of the tornado-destroyed trees on the OARDC campus; and an “environmental audit” of those trees using the U.S. Forest Service’s (USFS) i-Tree urban forest analysis software.
The tornado, with winds of up to 130 mph, caused major damage to the main OARDC campus and surrounding neighborhoods but only one minor injury.
Learn more about Why Trees Matter here.