Storm Recovery Can Lead to More Resilient Forests

Video series shows how improvements can be made following major events

April 27, 2021, 2:22 pm | Billy Beck, Brandon Kleinke

Storm damage to trees.AMES, Iowa – The derecho that swept across Iowa and the Midwest in August of 2020 caused extensive damage to forests and woodlots – but not all of it was negative.

Billy Beck, assistant professor and extension forestry specialist at Iowa State University, has put together a series of YouTube videos that explain how woodland owners can recover, and make their forests more resilient than before.

“It is critical that we view this as a forest management opportunity and not an insurmountable setback,” said Beck.

While virtually no one would wish for a major storm, such events do help open forest floors to more sunlight, which can lead to a more diverse and resilient stand of trees.

“We need to work on promoting a diverse structure, age and species diversification within our forests,” said Beck. “Diverse forests are resilient forests and this concept was very clear following the 2020 derecho.”

Topics are mostly chronological, beginning with an overview of the derecho in Iowa, post-storm assessment, management and a landowner story of recovery. Each is a few minutes in length.

Video sessions

The videos were produced for the Integrated Pest Management YouTube channel, with a focus on forest health and pathogen management. In each segment, Beck takes the viewer on a journey to see live footage and live cleanup following the derecho.

The videos were recorded by Brandon Kleinke, media production specialist with the Integrated Pest Management program with ISU Extension and Outreach.

“Shooting these forestry videos with Billy was a surreal experience, as the extreme damage from the derecho seemed like something out of a movie,” said Kleinke. “I got to see how passionate the forestry specialists are about helping people with tree recovery and learned a few things along the way.”

Additional videos are also being planned, expanding on these same topics, but in greater detail. Follow the IPM YouTube channel as more videos become available. 

To learn more, contact Beck at 515-294-8837 or


Original photo: Ed Zaworski of the Plant and Insect Diagnostic Clinic at Iowa State, assessing storm damage.

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