Protecting community trees costs less than replanting and growing new trees. A storm mitigation plan keeps citizens safe and protects valuable urban forest canopy in the event of a natural disaster.


Both communities and arborists need to plan ahead for storms. An effective storm plan will help to minimize a storm’s impacts on your community forest.

GFC can help communities develop a plan for avoiding or mitigating storm damage to trees.

GFC can also help arborists:

  • learn to assess a community’s current storm readiness
  • prepare, respond, and recover from a storm
  • understanding the arborist’s role in the process

What is a storm plan?

Storm Plans serve as a guides for:

  • assessing current storm readiness
  • summarizing your community’s current forest management program
  • providing a storm mitigation checklist

Developing a storm plan.

When starting a plan, it is important to:

  • Have effective tree management in place, including ongoing pruning and removal of trees at risk according to ANSI standards
  • Have contracts in place in advance (hotline system, pre-determined debris storage areas, hiring specifications for tree care companies to include certified arborists)
  • Be prepared to conduct an immediate assessment of the damage and what can be done. What tools do you have and what tools do you need to fix it? What is the process? Urban Forest Strike Teams may be able to help.
  • Understand eligible costs and how to seek reimbursement from FEMA.
  • Review and become familiar with the county plan and your EMA director.
  • Communication with your partners is critical.

Considerations after a storm.

  • In the post-event recovery period, Georgia ReLeaf opportunities and disaster assistance programs may be available. You will need to plan ahead to ensure you have met criteria when the time comes.
  • New opportunities for economic and environmental use of woody debris may also be available.

Helpful Resources

Find sample emergency response plans, Do’s & Don’ts on managing damaged storm trees and more.

TitleDescriptionDocument Type
American GroveSocial networking with tree enthusiasts, statewide and nationwide.External Website
Arbor DayResources and ideas for local celebrations.Page on GFC Website
Ask the ArboristOnline assistance for homeowner's questions about the trees in your yard.Page on GFC Website
Certified Arborist DirectoryCertified arborists are experienced professionals who have passed an extensive examination covering all aspects of tree care. Check this list for your city or county arborist if you have questions or concerns about street or park trees in your neighborhood.Page on GFC Website
Coastal Arborist AssociationThe Coastal Arborist Association (CAA) was founded in 2015 to provide education, training, and fellowship to arborists in the coastal region of Georgia and South Carolina.External Website
Coastal Bryan Tree FoundationTree advocacy group.External Website
Cobb TreesTree advocacy group.External Website
Community Forestry Assistance ProgramGFC’s Sustainable Community Forestry Program (SCFP) provides technical support to cities, counties, elementary schools, college campuses, home owners and nonprofit organizations.Page on GFC Website
Community Forestry Friend Program ApplicationThe Georgia Forestry Commission (GFC) is rewarding communities and campuses implementing
exemplary urban forestry programs with a Community Forestry Friend social media badge. Earning
the badge means your community manages its trees with the best urban and community forestry
practices, partners and professionalism. Download application to apply for the Community Forestry Friend program.
eLearn Urban Forestry (eXtension Campus)eLearn Urban Forestry is a distance-learning program for beginning urban foresters and allied professionals. These include foresters, natural resource planners, landscape architects, city officials and public works employees. (ISA credit and certificate of completion available)External Website
eLearn Urban Forestry (Southern Regional Extension Forestry)eLearn Urban Forestry is a distance-learning program for beginning urban foresters and allied professionals. These include foresters, natural resource planners, landscape architects, city officials and public works employees. (ISA credit not available)External Website
Emergency Response Plan for Community OfficialsAn effective storm plan will help to minimize a storm's impacts on your community forest. This Emergency Response Plan developed in Columbus, GA is a good example.PDF
Georgia Arborist AssociationA resource for tree care professionals and the public to protect and care for Georgia's trees.External Website
Georgia ReLeaf ProgramGeorgia ReLeaf efforts to help south Georgia communities replace tree canopy lost to severe storms and other communities planting trees for veterans.External Website
Georgia Tree CouncilTree advocacy group who works to sustain Georgia's green legacy by partnering with individuals, organizations, and communities in raising awareness toward improving and maintaining Georgia's community forests.External Website
Hazards of the ForestForesters and others who work outside and those who enjoy being in the outdoors are often confronted with hazards that can cause sickness, injury, or death. This booklet provides a brief description of those hazards to help you avoid an unpleasant encounter.PDF
Healthy Trees, Healthy Lives ResearchTake care of the forest, and it will take care of you. As research is being conducted and becoming available, findings reinforce what much of the urban forestry community already knows — that trees have a positive impact on human health. Check out research on why Healthy Trees make Healthy Lives.External Website
Homeowner’s Role in Maintaining the Urban ForestDownload this guide to get tips on maintaining trees, selecting an arborist and a homeowner tree survey checklist.PDF
Managing Storm Damaged Trees: Do’s and Don’tsCheck out this resource for the Do's and Don'ts on how to manage damaged trees from a storm. Includes: how to hire a professional for clean up, chainsaw safety, pruning and maintenance for damaged trees and more.PDF
Marietta TreeKeepersTree advocacy group.External Website
Park PrideTree advocacy group.External Website
Savannah Tree FoundationTree advocacy group.External Website
Save Energy – Plant Trees!This video provides insights into the value of planting trees.Video
Tree City USA, Tree Campus USA and Tree Line USA ProgramsCelebrating communities all across America that are creating healthier and more abundant community forests.Page on GFC Website
Trees AtlantaTree advocacy group.External Website
Trees ColumbusTree advocacy group.External Website
Urban Forest Strike TeamThis video outlines the work of GFC's Urban Forest Strike Team, which helps communities deal with the aftermath of severe storms.Video
Urban Forest Sustainability and Management Review – ChecklistThe Urban Forest Sustainability & Management Review System is designed to provide a framework for comprehensively evaluating urban forest management programs. This review system (the checklist and the process) can be used for municipal or county urban forest management programs, or to evaluate college or corporate campus management programsExternal Website