2021 ice storm took out nearly 18% of Salem tree canopy

April 11, 2022 GMT

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — A recently released reports shows an ice storm in 2021 decimated hundreds of acres of trees in Salem, Oregon.

The report from Salem Public Works Department says a citywide analysis found a 17.6% tree canopy loss from August 2020 to May 2021, The Statesman Journal reported.

City staff said about 10 acres of tree canopy was lost to development — but the bulk of the loss — more than 1,000 acres — was because of the Feb. 15, 2021 ice storm. The report to the city says thousands of trees fell and branches buckled under the weight of ice during the storm.

Historic and heritage trees, some hundreds of years old, were downed.

“Large Oregon white oaks were particularly hard hit by the ice storm as their large diameter branches accumulated heavy loads of ice, resulting in massive limb breakage and whole trees keeling over,” city staff said in the report.

Initial reviews found about 10,000 trees were damaged, and 1,000 trees were removed from city property following the storm.

The city spent more than $6.3 million on ice storm-related cleanup.

New tree growth and new planting projects have helped offset that loss, the city said.