The Impact of Hurricane Michael on Tree Canopy in Florida and Georgia


After The Storm: The Impact of Hurricane Michael on Tree Canopy in Florida and Georgia.


In October of 2018, Hurricane Michael, became the first category 5 hurricane to make landfall in the continental US since 1992. The storm devastated Florida panhandle communities and surrounding areas like southwest Georgia with strong winds, pounding rain, and an inundating storm surge. The hurricane not only caused loss of life and infrastructure but also major damage to the region’s forests and urban trees.

The Florida Forest Service, Georgia Forestry Commission, and Georgia Tree Council used federal hurricane relief funding to hire PlanIT Geo to measure the damage to the region’s urban forest. By comparing pre-storm imagery from 2017 with post-storm 2019 imagery, our GIS team was able to acutely measure lost tree canopy, as well as identify possible planting areas and prioritize where new trees will be needed most. With the increasing rate and severity of natural disasters, assessing damage and prioritizing equitable recovery efforts for urban forests is more important than ever.

Story maps were created to demonstrate the results of the project with Florida and Georgia communities. You can explore both of these interactive maps by clicking the links below.

Want to dig deeper?

Read the full urban tree canopy assesment reports on the impact of Hurricane Michael on tree canopy in Florida and Georgia .