Poplar windthrow following Cyclone Gabrielle

Cyclone Gabrielle was a severe tropical cyclone that devastated the North Island and affected parts of Vanuatu and Australia in February 2023. The cyclone hit New Zealand from 12 to 16 February, with a national state of emergency declared on 14 February 2023.

Anecdotal reports of poplar toppling during the event were investigated on 30 March 2023 by Northland Regional Council’s land management advisors John Ballinger and Simon Webb. Dean Satchell, Northland Senior Forestry Advisor for Te Uru Rakau was also in attendance. The purpose of the investigation was to try and determine:

  1. The relative extent of the windthrow in poplar.
  2. What environmental factors exacerbated windthrow vulnerability.
  3. Were there differences in poplar age, clone, or planting regime that effected vulnerability.

The sites visited were located at:

  • Mangakahia Rd, Maungatapere
  • Tokiri Rd, Titoki
  • Houto Rd, Tangiteroria
  • Mangapai caves Rd, Mangapai
  • Harris Rd, Glenbervie
  • Milne Rd, Titoki