Articles | Volume 9, issue 3
Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 9, 993–1001, 2009

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

Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 9, 993–1001, 2009

  26 Jun 2009

26 Jun 2009

Energy dissipation of rockfalls by coppice structures

G. Ciabocco1, L. Boccia2, and M. N. Ripa1 G. Ciabocco et al.
  • 1Department of technology and engineering and environment sciences and the Forest of Tuscia University, Viterbo, Italy
  • 2Department of agricultural engineering and territory – University of Naples Federico II, Italy

Abstract. The objective of this work is to develop elements to improve understanding of the behaviour of a coppice in relation to the phenomenon of falling boulders. The first section proposes an amendment to the equation for calculating the index which describes the probability of impact between a rock and plants in managed coppice forests. A study was carried out, using models to calculate the kinetic energy of a falling boulder along a slope considering the kinetic energy dissipated during the impact with the structure of forest plants managed by coppice. The output of the simulation models were then compared with the real dynamics of falling boulders in field tests using digital video.

It emerged from an analysis of the results of this comparison that a modification to the 1989 Gsteiger equation was required, in order to calculate the "Average Distance between Contacts" (ADC). To this purpose, the concept of "Structure of Interception", proposed in this paper, was developed, valid as a first approach for describing the differences in the spatial distribution of stems between coppice and forest. This study also aims to provide suggestions for forestry management, in order to maintain or increase the protective capacity of a coppice managed with conventional techniques for the area studied, modifying the dendrometric characteristics.