Faculté des sciences

A review of studies dealing with tree rings and rockfall activity: the role of dendrogeomorphology in natural hazard research

Stoffel, Markus

In: Natural Hazards, 2006, vol. 39, no. 1, p. 51-70

Over the last few years, rockfall research has increasingly focused on hazard assessment and risk analysis. Input data on past rockfall activity were gathered from historical archives and lichenometric studies or were obtained through frequency–volume statistics. However, historical records are generally scarce, and lichenometry may only yield data with relatively low resolutions. On forested... More

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    Summary
    Over the last few years, rockfall research has increasingly focused on hazard assessment and risk analysis. Input data on past rockfall activity were gathered from historical archives and lichenometric studies or were obtained through frequency–volume statistics. However, historical records are generally scarce, and lichenometry may only yield data with relatively low resolutions. On forested slopes, in contrast, tree-ring analyses may help, generally providing annual data on past rockfall activity over long periods. It is the purpose of the present literature review to survey the current state of investigations dealing with tree-ring sequences and rockfall activity, with emphasis on the extent to which dendrogeomorphology may contribute to rockfall research. Firstly, a brief introduction describes how dendrogeomorphological methods can contribute to natural hazard research. Secondly, an account is provided of the output of dendrogeomorphological studies investigating frequencies, volumes or spatial distributions of past rockfall activity. The current and potential strengths of dendrogeomorphology are then presented before, finally, the weaknesses of tree rings as natural archives of past rockfall activity are discussed and promising directions for further studies outlined.