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ALIEN - Assessing long term effects of invasive tree species on the protective function of forests against rockfall in Switzerland and France: the case of Ailanthus altissima (tree of heaven)

English title ALIEN - Assessment of the long terms effects of invading tree species on the protective function of forests against rockfall in Switzerland and France: The case of Ailanthus altissima (Tree of heaven)
Applicant Dorren Luuk
Number 156661
Funding scheme Project funding (Div. I-III)
Research institution Hochschule für Agrar-, Forst- und Lebensmittelwissenschaften HAFL Berner Fachhochschule BFH
Institution of higher education Berne University of Applied Sciences - BFH
Main discipline Ecology
Start/End 01.01.2015 - 30.04.2018
Approved amount 603'774.00
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All Disciplines (3)

Discipline
Ecology
Forest Engineering
Geomorphology

Keywords (4)

Protection forest; Rockfall; Invasive species; Dendrogeomorphology

Lay Summary (German)

Lead
ALIEN - Langzeiteffekte von invasiven Baumarten im Steinschlagschutzwald
Lay summary
Der Götterbaum (Ailanthus altissima) stammt aus China und ist eine invasive Baumart in der Schweiz. In einem schweizerischen-französischen Projekt werden die Ökologie und Langzeitdynamik von Götterbaum-Beständen im Tessin und erstmals auch in China untersucht. Diese Kenntnisse verwenden die Forschenden, um die Invasionsprozesse abzubilden und die Entwicklung von Waldbeständen abzuschätzen, die vom Götterbaum unterwandert sind. Ziel ist es, Methoden zu entwickeln, die es ermöglichen, die Schutzwirkung bei Steinschlag von Ailanthus-Beständen zu quantifizieren. Mitarbeitende Instituten sind die Berner Fachhochschule - HAFL (Projektleitung), WSL, Uni Bern und dem IRSTEA centre de Grenoble (F). 
Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 08.12.2014

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Publications

Publication
A Novel DEM Approach to Simulate Block Propagation on Forested Slopes
David Toe, Franck Bourrier, Luuk Dorren, Frédéric Berger (2018), A Novel DEM Approach to Simulate Block Propagation on Forested Slopes, in Rock Mechanics and Rock Engineering, 51(3), 811-825.
Götterbaum und Paulownie: die "neuen Wilden" im Schweizer Wald?
Wunder Jan, Knüsel Simon, Dorren Luuk, Schwarz Massimiliano, Bourrier Franck, Conedera Marco (2018), Götterbaum und Paulownie: die "neuen Wilden" im Schweizer Wald?, in Schweizerische Zeitschrift für Forstwesen, 169(2), 69-76.
Analysis of trees effect on blocks propagation using a DEM model: implications for rockfall modelling
David Toe, Franck Bourrier, Ignacio Olmedo, Jean-Mathieu Monnet, Frédéric Berger (2017), Analysis of trees effect on blocks propagation using a DEM model: implications for rockfall modelling, in Landslide, 14(5), 1603-1614.

Collaboration

Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
HAFL Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Research Infrastructure
Dendrolab.ch Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
WSL Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
IRSTEA France (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
125th IUFRO conference Poster Climatic drivers of Ailanthus altissima growth - a high resolution perspective 12.09.2017 Freiburg, Germany Knüsel Simon; Wunder Jan;
Interdisciplinary Workshop on Rockfall Protection Talk given at a conference A method for integrating the effects of forests on rockfalls into quantitative risk analysis – a case study in Switzerland 22.05.2017 Barcelona, Spain Dorren Luuk; Trappmann Daniel; Stoffel Markus; Moos Christine;
Interdisciplinary Workshop on Rockfall Protection Talk given at a conference Enhancing the integration of the protective role of forest in rockfall simulations 22.05.2017 Barcelone, Spain Bourrier Franck;
International Symposium Rock Slope Stability Talk given at a conference The effect of forests on rockfall occurrence frequency 15.11.2016 Lyon, France Stoffel Markus; Trappmann Daniel; Dorren Luuk; Moos Christine;
Introduced tree species in European forests Talk given at a conference The spread of Ailanthus altissima in Switzerland & Shade tolerance of the tree of heaven in southern Switzerland 02.11.2016 Ascona, Switzerland Knüsel Simon; Wunder Jan;
Visit at Chinese Acadamy of Forestry, Research Institute of Forestry Individual talk Fast-growing neophytic trees in Switzerland & Invasion ecology of Ailanthus altissima 12.06.2016 Beijing, China Wunder Jan; Knüsel Simon;
INTERPRAEVENT Congress Poster ALIEN – Assessing long term effects of invasive tree species on the protective function of forests against rockfall in Switzerland and France: the case of Ailanthus altissima 30.05.2016 Lucerne, Switzerland Dorren Luuk; Wunder Jan; Bourrier Franck; Moos Christine; Knüsel Simon; Reineking Björn; Trappmann Daniel; Conedera Marco; Stoffel Markus;
EGU General Assembly Talk given at a conference Effect of forest on rockfall frequency and intensity 18.04.2016 Wien, Austria Moos Christine;
international workshop on invasive and introduced species into European forests at the European Forest Talk given at a conference Ailanthus altissima in Ticino, Switzerland 29.06.2015 Freiburg i. Breisgau, Germany Wunder Jan;


Self-organised

Title Date Place
Spring school on Bayesian calibration, forecasting and multi-model predictions of process-based vegetation models 05.05.2017 Rencurel/Grenoble, France

Knowledge transfer events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Date Place Persons involved
Forum Wissenstransfer Wald Workshop 24.05.2018 Lyss, Switzerland Knüsel Simon; Dorren Luuk; Moos Christine; Wunder Jan;
Österreichischer Wasser- und Abfallwirtschaftsverband Ausbildungskurs zur Fachkraft für Neophytenbekämpfung Talk 08.05.2018 Schwaz, Austria Conedera Marco;
AWEL Zürich, Section Biosecurity Talk 19.12.2016 Zürich, Switzerland Knüsel Simon;
Forum WSL Suisse Romande Talk 19.04.2016 Lausanne, Switzerland Conedera Marco;


Communication with the public

Communication Title Media Place Year
Video/Film Video about an impact of an artificial rock on a young Ailanthus tree Italian-speaking Switzerland German-speaking Switzerland 2017
Media relations: radio, television Ailanto sotto osservazione RSI Radiotelevisione svizzera Italian-speaking Switzerland 2016
Media relations: radio, television Der Götterbaum breitet sich aus Radio SRF 1 Regionaljournal Ostschweiz German-speaking Switzerland 2015
Media relations: print media, online media Der Götterbaum wuchert ungebremst Schweizer Bauer German-speaking Switzerland 2015
Media relations: print media, online media Götterbaum verbreitet sich St. Galler Tagblatt German-speaking Switzerland 2015
Media relations: print media, online media Götterbaumbeobachtungen – Bitte melden naturschutz.ch/aktion German-speaking Switzerland 2015
Media relations: radio, television Verteufelter Götterbaum erobert die Alpennordseite Radio SRF 2 German-speaking Switzerland 2015

Abstract

Ailanthus altissima (Mill.), commonly known as tree of heaven, is a deciduous tree native to both northeast and central China and Taiwan. The tree grows rapidly and is capable of reaching heights of 15 metres in 25 years. However, the species is also short-lived, rarely exceeding ages of 50 years. The tree was first brought from China to Europe in the 1740s. It has become an invasive species due to its ability both to quickly colonise disturbed areas and to suppress competition with allelopathic compounds. The tree also resprouts vigorously when cut, making its eradication difficult and time consuming. As a consequence, forests, mainly in the warmer, southern parts of the Alps, are increasingly invaded by A. altissima trees. Many of these forests play a key role in natural hazard risk management as they have a protective function against rockfall. Decades of fundamental research on both the ecological and mechanical characteristics of forests and trees in the Alps allowed the development of tools which enable quantitative comparisons between technical protective measures and protection forests. The expansion of the invasive species A. altissima in protection forests poses questions on the future development and stability of the affected protection forests and their protective capacity. To answer these questions, both new data and further model developments are needed. The four key goals of this project are therefore:1.To acquire fundamental ecological knowledge on the long-term development of the structure and stability of forest stands invaded by A. altissima2.To adapt and calibrate a forest dynamics simulation model for assessing the determinants of A. altissima spread and evaluating the effects of forest management interventions on the future development of invaded forest stands 3.To develop a model for the mechanical response of A. altissima trees during dynamic impacts4.To develop methods and models that allow quantifying the current and future protective function of forest stands invaded by A. altissima against rockfallALIEN will achieve these goals by interdisciplinary fundamental research on A. altissima, tightly coupling field data collection and process-based simulation modelling. The novel insights on the dynamics of invasive species, their impact on risk prevention related ecosystem services, and on the efficacy of alternative management options will be of high interest to the international research community and eventually also practitioners responsible for the management of protection forests.
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