Protection forest

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.

Our research

Protection forest and natural hazards

We investigate how disturbances and climate change will affect the protective performance of mountain forests. The results of our studies flow into RAMMS (, 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.

Protection forest and deadwood

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)


Contact: Peter Bebi

Protection forest and economy

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

Project: Determining the Insurance Value of Ecosystems (DIVES)

Contact: Roland Olschewski


Training material on reforestation

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