Tornado-damaged forests: Decades to heal

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – In the neighborhood surrounding Island Pond Road in Springfield, tornado-damaged homes have been repaired and rebuilt, but amid the new roofs, new siding, and new decks, the tall trees that once filled the neighborhood are still missing.

Lee Mentor, a tornado victim who lives in the area, said that three years later, the homes in the neighborhood all look brand new, but they only have a fraction of the trees they once had.

“In the summer when it gets hot, there’s just no place to go. With the trees, it was very beautiful down here,” Mentor said.

It will be a very long wait for the neighborhood to get back that natural tree-cover.

Brady Yesak, an arborist with Northern Tree Service, told 22News that in tornado-damaged areas, it will take between 50 and 100 years for the forests to replenish.

The somewhat better news for residents of these neighborhoods is that the shade trees that were planted in backyards should be able to reach their full size in about 25 years.

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