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Mississippi Urban Forest Strike Team to assist with Hurricane Sally recovery in south Alabama

Members of the Mississippi Forestry Commission’s (MFC) Urban Forest Strike Team are being deployed to south Alabama to assist state and federal officials with Hurricane Sally damage assessments.

We are proud to be able to send members of Mississippi’s Urban Forest Strike Team to help our neighbors in Alabama as they recover from Hurricane Sally.

Russell Bozeman, MFC state forester

Urban, or community, forests are something many Mississippians take for granted. With the absence of large urban areas, the idea of an “urban forest” can seem foreign.  However, every tree inside a city’s limits, whether on public or private property, is part of the urban forest.  Parks, green spaces, and tree-lined streets in neighborhoods are all part of a city’s urban forest landscape. 

Urban forests provide a multitude of benefits to the community where they grow. When present and properly managed, trees provide environmental benefits and contribute to our health, economic vitality and social well-being.

One of the biggest threats to urban forests are natural disasters. Each year, natural disasters cause significant damage to urban forests across the southeast. One of the greatest challenges many communities face after a natural disaster is the damage assessment and cleanup responsibilities.

State forestry agencies, along with the U.S. Forest Service, have been developing resources to provide assistance to communities after disasters.

The Urban Forest Strike Team (UFST) initiative was created in 2007 by the Southern Group of State Foresters (SGSF) and has responded to 11 federally-declared disasters in 12 states.

The primary activity of the UFST is individual tree assessments to support a community’s application for FEMA Public Assistance. The primary goal of the UFST is to help communities retain as much viable, low-risk tree canopy as possible following a natural disaster.

“Our team of trained personnel will join others from Alabama and the southeast to help communities affected by Hurricane Sally determine the extent of damage to their community forests,” Bozeman said.

For more information about Mississippi’s Urban Forest Strike Team, like and follow @MSForestryComm on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.