Largest Eucalyptus and Pinus forests in Europe blown down?
From January 23d to 25th 2009 the 200 km/h strong wind and rainstorm Klaus swept accross the Bay of Biscay en route to the Mediterranean Sea, causing widespread damage in Northern Spain and Southern France.
(See more images of wind damage to trees & infrastructures in Northwestern Spain)
The unusual, sudden and very fast wind blast, with intensities roughly equivalent to a Category 3 Hurricane for a short time, caused catastrophic damage to mixed forests in Galicia, Asturias, Cantabria and the Basque Country in Spain, wiping out an important amount of the largest Eucalyptus timberland in Europe before travelling eastwards to level Las Landes d'Aquitaine in France, the largest Martime Pine forest in Europe.
Fig. 1: Pathway of Storm Klaus from the Bay of Biscay to the Mediterranean, depicting heavily affected areas, roughly corresponding with the most productive cultivated timberlands in Europe. Base satellite image courtesy Meteogalicia.
Maximum wind speeds set a new record for measurements in Galicia, surpassing the effects of cyclone Hortensia in 1984. Peak winds caused the worst impact in the Northern coast, where a big chunk of the largest cultivated Eucalyptus rainforest stands; and in the already heavily damaged higher highlands of Eastern Galicia, slowly recovering from previous damage to pine timberlands caused by the worst snow storm in 20 years, happening back in November and December 2008.
Fig. 2: Maximum wind speed readings by weather stations in Galicia during Storm Klaus (23 to 24th January). Base Map courtesy Meteogalicia.
Catastrophic Damage Areas for Pine & Eucalypt Forests in Galicia (NW Spain)
Cross-checking wind impact cartography with timber resource allocation maps allows to roughly define those areas where winds in excess of 135 km/h have caused heavy to catastrophic damage to tree plantations, windmill farms and varied industrial, communications and urban infrastructures.
Fig. 3: Catastrophic damage areas caused by Storm Klaus to Eucalyptus plantations in Galicia (Northwestern Spain). Top wind speed (km/h) remarked for each area. Base Maps courtesy EUITF - Universidad de Vigo.
Fig. 4: Catastrophic damage areas caused by Storm Klaus to Pinus plantations in Galicia (Northwestern Spain). Top wind speed (km/h) remarked for each area. Base Maps courtesy EUITF - Universidad de Vigo.
Largest Maritime Pine forest in Europe wiped out
After bashing the Northern coast of Spain, the Eye of Klaus impacted continental Europe in the French coast near Bordeaux, causing widespread damage to anything standing in its way to Marseilles. And in its way, the forest of Les Landes de Gascogne, the largest and most productive of its kind in Europe.
(See more images of wind damage to trees & infrastructures in Southern France)
French forestry officers have made a preliminary balance with grim perspectives, as roughly 60% of this impressive wood resource may have been heavily affected, including some 300,000 hectares of pine timberland receiving catastrophic wind damage.
UPDATE: Klaus Stormwood Inventory (Galicia, Spain)
UPDATE: Storm Xynthia hits Galician forests... again!
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