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WoodFlow: Large wood research in Swiss watercourses

 

The challenge of large wood management is to maintain the equilibrium of the good ecological and hydromorphological condition of rivers, and at the same time analyze and manage the potential risks. The main goal of the research project WoodFlow is to develop an integrated management strategy for large wood in rivers.

 

Objectives

  1. Recruitment processes and source areas of LW: the main processes responsible for wood in streams are identified, exploring driving variables (climate, forest stand and morphological factors) and input processes (landslides, debris flows, snow avalanches, bank erosion).
  2. Entrainment, transport and deposition of LW in rivers: to understand the processes involved in LW dynamics, how LW evolves when transported (i.e. breakage) and to recognize and predict potential depositional areas.
  3. LW-related hazards and risks: critical sections and potential hazards will be identified, together with the analysis of the potential impacts (e.g. clogging, sedimentation, flooding).
 

Methods

In order to better understand, quantify and model in-stream wood processes, various approaches are combined:

  • Empirical and statistical methods
  • GIS modeling and remote sensing analysis
  • Field surveys, hydraulic and forestal studies
  • Flume experiments
  • Numerical modeling
 

Practical implications

The expected results of this project will improve the understanding of the geomorphic and ecological processes associated with LW. Knowing where and how much LW may be recruited will help to identify the relative importance of different vegetation patterns and recruitment processes. At the river reach scale the main factors controlling LW transport and deposition will provide insights regarding the volume of transferred LW through a system, how LW is mobilized and where it is deposited. The analysis of potential hazards due to blockage, will allow identifying critical sections. This project will also contribute to the development of a federal management strategy and will help to evaluate and modify established protection concepts.

 

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