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Forest-destroying avalanches on the rise due to clear-cut logging

Date:
March 29, 2012
Source:
Canadian Science Publishing (NRC Research Press)
Summary:
Scientists have been studying the impact of clear-cut logging on avalanche terrain in British Columbia. Understanding avalanche behavior and its destructive potential is an important factor in assessing risk of clear-cut logging of mature forest timber. A new article presents data collected from locations where avalanches have been released due to clear-cut logging; These data demonstrate the adverse effects of poor logging practices.

Scientists with the UBC Avalanche Research Group have been studying the impact of clear-cut logging on avalanche terrain in British Columbia. Understanding avalanche behavior and its destructive potential is an important factor in assessing risk of clear-cut logging of mature forest timber. An article just published in the Canadian Geotechnical Journal presents data collected from locations where avalanches have been released due to clear-cut logging; these data demonstrate the adverse effects of poor logging practices.

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"The idea of this study was to be able to predict, in a probabilistic sense, how far avalanches can penetrate into forest cover. It is important not only in logging applications but also for land-use planning in general," says author Dr. Dave McClung of the UBC Avalanche Research Group. "The runout distance of an avalanche that penetrates forest cover can only be predicted using the methods in this paper. Avalanche dynamic models cannot be used for such an application since they cannot account for the extra resistance of forest cover. If facilities -- buildings, roads, etc. -- are below avalanche terrain, planners need to know the chances that destructive avalanches can reach such facilities. This article contains the methods and data for doing so."

Dr. Ian Moore, Editor of the Canadian Geotechnical Journal, commented "We greatly value research publications in the Journal having a practical focus. This study from Dr. McClung and his colleagues is a wonderful example of work of high scholarly value having very significant safety implications. The result will be management of resources to improve both commercial and safety outcomes associated with optimized forestry practices."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Canadian Science Publishing (NRC Research Press). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. G. Anderson, D. McClung. Snow avalanche penetration into mature forest from timber-harvested terrain. Canadian Geotechnical Journal, 2012; 49 (4): 477 DOI: 10.1139/t2012-018

Cite This Page:

Canadian Science Publishing (NRC Research Press). "Forest-destroying avalanches on the rise due to clear-cut logging." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 March 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120329124711.htm>.
Canadian Science Publishing (NRC Research Press). (2012, March 29). Forest-destroying avalanches on the rise due to clear-cut logging. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120329124711.htm
Canadian Science Publishing (NRC Research Press). "Forest-destroying avalanches on the rise due to clear-cut logging." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120329124711.htm (accessed December 20, 2014).

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