Waldbrände in der montanen und subalpinen Stufe der Nordalpen und ihr Einfluss auf die Landschaftsdynamik

Forest fires in the montane and subalpinepart of the Northern Alps and its influence on landscape dynamic – 
Waldbrände in der montanen und subalpinen Stufe der Nordalpen und ihr Einflussauf die Landschaftsdynamik

25 March 2007

published by www.geo.uni-augsburg.de

Germany — The Faculty of Geography of the University of Augsburg iscurrently undertaken a project dealing with forest fires in the montane andsubalpine part of the Northern Alps and its influence on landscape dynamic.


In the last centuries, numerous forest fires devastated considerable parts ofthe subalpine krummholz and forest areas in the Northern Limestone Alps. Becauseof the downwash of the exposed soil, some of the affected slopes are still bareof vegetation today. Intensified slope processes, changed water balance andincreased probability of avalanches lead to a disturbed equilibrium and thus, toan enhanced risk of natural hazards in the vicinity of the slopes. The aim ofthe applied project is to investigate the location, the temporal distributionand the recurrence interval of the fires. It is intended to work out theecosystem’s regeneration potential under varying topographical and geologicalsettings. Furthermore, the consequences for the alpine timberline, slopehydrology, denudation processes and thus, for the long-term landscapedevelopment will be investigated. To bring these questions nearer toclarification, a comprehensive inquiry of the spatial and temporal distributionof historical fires will be carried out. The succession of the vegetation coverwill be monitored by mapping of soils and vegetation. The changed sedimentbudget is to be quantified by erosion and denudation measurements. The loosesediment bodies accumulated under the disturbed slopes will be investigated bydigging, to establish the existence, depth and age of black carbonic layers. Theinvestigations are expected to highlight the role of the fire events as a partof the natural process system of the region, the impacts on the cultivated land,and the potential for a sustainable development.

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