This chapter describes the Wipptal South Pilot Action Region (PAR) in South Tyrol, where forests are well recognized to play a crucial role in protecting against a variety of gravity-driven natural hazards, such as landslides, debris flows, rock falls and snow avalanches. The chapter presents the three municipalities in the PAR area in terms of socio-environmental context, gravity-driven natural hazards and forest characteristics. The presented best-practice example describes the results of a former project entitled “Waldtypisierung Südtirol” (Eng. Forest Characterization South Tyrol) that focused on a detailed description of forests in South Tyrol and the development of a handbook for foresters. It is shown that the Wipptal South PAR as being is frequently affected by a variety of gravity-induced hazards while highlighting the critical role of forest in protecting people and their properties. Appropriate forest management strategies are vital to maintain and increase tree species diversity (e.g. populating fir) and the associated protective forest function. In this context, climate change effects, such as an increasing threat of bark beetle infestation due to rising drought stress or the consequences of associated extreme weather events (e.g. storms), pose major challenges for the local forests and their protective function.
Part of the book: Best Practice Examples of Implementing Ecosystem-Based Natural Hazard Risk Management in the GreenRisk4ALPs Pilot Action Regions