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Construction Schrina Forest

by Alexander Sohm last modified 2007-01-08 13:33

In some places the forest isn’t enough to protect against avalanches.  Sometimes it’s because there is no natural rejuvenation of the forest due to it being an enclosure for game making it impossible for the saplings to grow and in other places it’s because man has pushed the forest back.  In such cases, re-foresting in combination with technical constructions is necessary.

Just below the path you can see an avalanche construction where saplings have been planted.  You are in the Schrina Forest Avalanche area which was started in the 1980’s by the torrent and avalanche constructions in Bludenz.  Since then over 2.1 million Euros have been invested in a total area of just over 30 hectares.

The oldest reports about damages by these Schrina forest avalanches are over 200 years old.  The decisive factor for the construction project were the damages caused by the avalanches in the years 1954, 1967, 1976 and 1982.  40 permanently inhabited buildings with over 100 guest beds lie on the avalanche paths and in the danger area.

The breaking point of the Schrina Forest avalanches is comprised of 14 partial avalanches that for the most part, can break in the forest aisles or the former hay fields.  The primary breaking point runs from the ridge of the Schwarzhorn at 1,880 meters above sea level to the valley side forest edge at about 1,200 meters.  Individual avalanche paths intersect each other and sometimes cause new breakaways which reach as far as the village of Silbertal.

The intention of the construction measures is to protect endangered objects and sections of streets from avalanches.  The torrent and avalanche construction erected about 1,800 running meters of snow bridges in combined construction styles.  These snow bridges have a base made out of steel and wooden fencing.  They help stop avalanches from breaking off.  In addition, 400 three legged trestles made of wood as well as pressure hills made from grass bricks were constructed.   These measures are for the protection of the reforestation from the sliding snow.  Sliding snow doesn't only produce a sable shaped trunk in the young trees, but in extreme cases can also pull out the tree by the roots.

In order to guarantee protection from avalanches in the future, an area of about 21 hectares was planted with over 80,000 pine, spruce and sycamore trees.  Rejuvenation measures were also necessary in the forests that are already standing because in the long run, only a healthy forest can offer effective and cost effective protection from avalanches.

The large number of red and roe deer are also a big problem when it comes to these measures.  The deer eat not only the saplings that have been planted in times of food scarcity, but the also eat the naturally growing saplings.  This means that controlled hunting of the deer is unavoidable so that this area can preserve the protection forest that is necessary for survival.


P09-2 avalanche constructions schrinawald.mp3

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