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Meier, A. / Meier AND Müller / Wald OR Schutz / Wald AND NOT Risiko

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2010, 2008-2009

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Abo magazine DIAGONAL
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WSL Magazine Diagonal No. 1/16

Diagonal_16_1_en
Read Diagonal online

Focus Research XXL: nature as laboratory

February 2015: SLF researchers trigger three avalanches in Vallée de la Sionne (canton of Valais) as part of a large-scale experiment. A pylon equipped with sensors placed in the middle of the test site provides important data for studying the speed, pressure and range of avalanches. In addition to this site, WSL operates other unique test sites where researchers study debris flows, rockfall and sediment transport in streams and rivers under natural conditions. There are also major long-term experiments under­way in forests in order to better understand processes in nature and adapt management methods accordingly.

Storys

  • NATURE DETERMINES WHEN THINGS GET UNDERWAY
    What happens inside a debris flow? When does a stream transport rock and debris? Large-scale experiments in mountain streams provide answers.
  • ONE-TWO: FROM LARGE-SCALE EXPERIMENTS TO POP-UP TESTS
    Controlled triggering of avalanches, measurement of debris flows and rock caught in protective nets – what for? An interview with Perry Bartelt, WSL, and Lorenz
    Meier, Geopraevent, about large-scale experiments.
  • FURNITURE INSTEAD OF FUELWOOD
    WSL is conducting a large-scale experiment in the Ticino forest. The goal is to find a management method that makes chestnut wood economically attractive again.

More informations

The object: The Shear Apparatus (movie)

Scherapparat Before a slab avalanche occurs, small cracks and friction between the snow grains generate noise. The shear apparatus allows researchers in the lab to investigate the fracture process and the acoustic signals.
Research XXL: nature as laboratory
Research XXL

Some research requires lots of space, complicated instrumentation and plenty of time and money. The payoff of such large-scale experiments: great data that is very close to reality. The WSL carries out a whole series of XXL-projects.

Available languages: German  English  French 

Key topics

Biodiversity

  • Alpine permafrost is rich in micro-organisms
  • An automatic sound check for bats
  • Use of genetic techniques to help protect endangered plants and animals

Forests

  • Indigenous Scots pines germinate better than those from southern and eastern Europe
  • Historic water channels as a long-term irrigation experiment
  • Better structured forests mean fewer landslides
  • A unique environmental archive: ancient wood stored in Swiss soil

Landscapes

  • River and stream renaturalization as seen by the media
  • A history of the Swiss landscape: a look back offers ideas for the future

Natural hazards

  • How effective is avalanche blasting? Scientists blow the lid
  • A new assessment system for winter tours in the Jura
  • Improving community resilience to natural hazards

Snow and ice

  • Forest structure influences snow distribution
  • Snow accumulates even on steep rock walls, influencing rock temperature

Portraits

Arthur Gessler, biologist
Andreas Zurlinden, molecular biologist
Bettina Richter, meteorologist

 

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