Managing coppice forests for rockfall protection: lessons from modelingReport as inadecuate

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1 Faculty of Science and Technology, Free University of Bozen-Bolzano 2 UR ETGR - Erosion torrentielle neige et avalanches

Abstract : & Context One eighth of Europe-s forests are still managed as coppice. In some European countries, more than half of the forest exhibits coppice structures from the past or present coppice management. Many of these forests grow in the broadleaf zone of mountainous regions, often on steep slopes. Here, they play an important role in rockfall protection. However, it remains unclear how coppice forests should be structured for optimal rockfall protection or how the protection effect changes during the aging of the coppice. & Aim A few studies have applied rock trajectory analyses, but so far, no process-based model has been used to quantify the protective effect of differently structured coppice forests. The present study compared 40 coppice patches from two chronosequences in South Tyrol, North Italy, regarding their protective effect against rocks of two sizes using the rockfall simulation model Rockyfor3D. & Results The results indicate that coppice stands older than 30 years better protect against rockfall than medium-aged and young stands, although the old ones have lower stem densities. Surprisingly, a random stem distribution had a better protective effect than the clumped stem distribution typical for coppice stands. & Conclusion Implications for future management are discussed in detail, including the relevance of standards in coppice forests.

Author: Anna Radtke - David Toe - Frederic Berger - Stefan Zerbe - Franck Bourrier -



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