Nebraska communities benefit from tree risk analysis and what is “Reasonable & Practical”

Photo Credit: Eric Berg

Nebraska communities benefit from tree risk analysis and what is “Reasonable & Practical”

Guest post from Nebraska Forest Service’s Community Forestry Program in coordination with the Western Urban and Community Forestry Network's #HealthyTreesHealthyLives social media campaign. Explore the hashtag #HealthyTreesHealthyLives on social media to learn more. 

Trees in the Great Plains really take a beating when we consider all that Mother Nature throws at us. Nebraska community forests are no exception and are under growing stress from a wide range of environmental and human caused factors. Given the impact of a variable and extreme climate, invasive species, and the increasing reliance on volunteer management support, Nebraska Forest Service (NFS) in working with community leaders across the state identified an opportunity to develop training and resources to better support local forestry management operations.

In an effort to address these threats, NFS developed and hosted a series of three tree risk assessment and management workshops throughout the state. These “hands-on” workshops were developed to assist those who manage trees in their community to better understand potential risk, how to address it, and how to proactively manage the community forest.


Funding for the workshop series was provided via a Landscape Scale Restoration grant. The series featured speaker Mark Duntemann, owner of Natural-Path Urban Forestry Consultants. Duntemann has traveled internationally speaking on tree risk and urban forestry policy development and has served as an expert witness on tree litigation cases. Workshop participants benefitted from Duntemann’s diverse perspectives on tree risk management.

Major concepts covered during the workshop series included: Concepts of Risk Management; Defining what is “Reasonable and Practical” in the eyes of the law; Risk Analysis – an outdoor session on identifying tree defects and measuring the risk they present; Defining Risk Reduction Goals, Refining Operations to Identify and Mitigate High-risk Trees; and Long Term Polices and Management Implications.

Nearly 100 participants representing 28 communities participated in these full day, hands-on learning workshops. Community leaders and managers who attended the seminars saved significant time and money developing proactive response plans to invasives and extreme weather events. When educated on the methods of active community forest management, community volunteers have tremendous potential to assist and support operations and provide long term health benefits to both the forests and the people.

To further leverage the experiential learning opportunities, one of the workshop sessions was recorded and promoted via social media platforms as well as to membership within green industry organizations. All eight topic specific seminars are available for sharing and distribution. The recordings can be found online at https://mediahub.unl.edu/channels/18735.

To learn more, contact Eric Berg, Community Forestry & Sustainable Landscape Program Leader, Nebraska Forest Service, at eberg2@unl.edu or 402-430-6451.

Photo Credit: Eric Berg