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Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 10, issue 4
Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 10, 699–711, 2010
https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-10-699-2010
© Author(s) 2010. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Special issue: Rockfall protection – from hazard identification to mitigation...

Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 10, 699–711, 2010
https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-10-699-2010
© Author(s) 2010. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

  12 Apr 2010

12 Apr 2010

Evaluation of a 3-D rockfall module within a forest patch model

W. Rammer1, M. Brauner2, L. K. A. Dorren3,*, F. Berger3, and M. J. Lexer1 W. Rammer et al.
  • 1Institute of Silviculture, Department of Forest and Soil Sciences, University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences, Peter Jordanstraße 82, 1190 Vienna, Austria
  • 2Institute of Mountain Risk Engineering, Department of Civil Engineering and Natural Hazards, University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences, Peter Jordanstraße 82, 1190 Vienna, Austria
  • 3Cemagref Grenoble, 2 rue de la Papeterie, 38402 Saint Martin d'Héres Cedex, France
  • *current address: Division for Hazard Prevention, Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN), 3003 Bern, Switzerland

Abstract. Many slopes in the Alps are prone to rockfall and forests play a vital role in protecting objects such as (rail) roads and infrastructure against rockfall. Decision support tools are required to assess rockfall processes and to quantify the rockfall protection effect of forest stands. This paper presents results of an iterative sequence of tests and improvements of a coupled rockfall and forest dynamics model with focus on the rockfall module. As evaluation data a real-size rockfall experiment in the French Alps and two 2-D rockfall trajectories from Austria and Switzerland were used. Modification of the rebound algorithm and the inclusion of an algorithm accounting for the sudden halt of falling rocks due to surface roughness greatly improved the correspondence between simulated and observed key rockfall variables like run-out distances, rebound heights and jump lengths for the real-size rockfall experiment. Moreover, the observed jump lengths and run-out distances of the 2-D trajectories were well within the stochastic range of variation yielded by the simulations. Based on evaluation results it is concluded that the rockfall model can be employed to assess the protective effect of forest vegetation.

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