Protection forest, Davos, Switzerland


Example of a protection forest in the Swiss Alps

Site visit: 20 August 2019

Forests in the Alps fulfil many purposes, apart from being an immutable component of the montane landscape. These include soil and slope stabilisation, water filtration, wildlife habitat and timber production, to name a few. They are also vital for community protection, especially from avalanches and rockfalls. A study trip to Davos, Switzerland in August 2019, to participate in the Swiss Forest Lab Summer School on Forest Resilience, was an opportunity to explore an old-growth stand that serves as part of a protection forest. Seeing how the large Norway spruce trees have buffered the fall of rocks allows us to appreciate just how significant the issue is for the people in this region. Without these woodlands, rocks could fall at anytime, and tumble down at high speed into the lower pastures, farms and villages. It is predicted to be a more significant problem in the future. The melting of permafrost due to climate change is likely to allow more loose rocks and boulders to dislodge from the high slopes and ridges. Photos: Digital, Nikon D3100.

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