Almost half of Switzerland's forests protect against avalanches, rockfall or debris flow. We explore which characteristics of a forest determine its protective performance, how these might change with climate change, and what the population is willing to pay for protection.
We investigate how disturbances and climate change will affect the protective performance of mountain forests. The results of our studies flow into RAMMS (ramms.wsl.ch), among other things – a computer program for simulating natural hazards that can be used to calculate mass movements and estimate the influence of protective measures.
With global warming, storms and pest infestations threaten to become more frequent in mountain forests. Trees might die in larger forest areas. We investigate how deadwood affects the protective function of forests.
Projects (in German or English)
- Mountain spruce forests as hotspots for extremes: impacts, resilience and management priorities (MountEx)
- Fortschritte bei der Erfassung von Schutzwirkungen dank neuen Technologien - WANAG
- Risikohinweiskarte Davos - FORISK
Contact: Peter Bebi
Insurance values of ecosystems: Forests can provide a kind of insurance against natural hazards. The DIVES project showed that mountain populations are willing to pay for better protection through additional management of the protecti
Contact: Roland Olschewski
- Unterberger, C.; Olschewski, R., (2021). Determining the insurance value of ecosystems: a discrete choice study on natural hazard protection by forests. Ecological Economics, 180, 106866 (16 pp.). doi:10.1016/j.ecolecon.2020.106866
- Unterberger, C.; Olschewski, R., (2020). Stated preference data on the insurance value of forests in Switzerland. Data in Brief, 33, 106466 (6 pp.). doi:10.1016/j.dib.2020.106466
Forest fires, windthrow and snow damage can impair the protective function of mountain forests. Where the forest needs to quickly regain important protective functions, humans must initiate reforestation. In the training material, we describe the respective advantages and disadvantages of possible procedures for afforestation of protection forests in the mountains and present their influence on the trees.
Training material on reforestation (in German and French)
Contact: Thomas Wohlgemuth