Spatiotemporal dynamics of shallow landslides and their biotic and abiotic controls - an integrating synthesis including soil landscape modeling for determination and regionalisation of soil functional groups as well as forest modeling

DFG FOR 816 - HU 636/13-1

From 02/2007 to 12/2010

Principal Investigator: Bernd Huwe
Staff: Mareike Ließ, Bruno Glaser

Natural disturbances such as landslides have an important affect on biodiversity, pedodiversity and landscape development in the tropical montane forests of Southern Ecuador. Thus, understanding landslides is a precondition for understanding this megadiverse landscape. Our project aims at understanding and predicting the spatiotemporal patterns of landslides based on their abiotic and biotic controls, i.e. terrain and soil properties as well as plant biomass and root cohesion. We hypothesize that the spatiotemporal distribution of shallow landslides is controlled by soil mechanical and hydrological factors in combination with stabilizing and destabilizing factors of above and belowground vegetation. Identifying the spatiotemporal patterns of all driving factors on landscape scale is a prerequisite for a process-based assessment of landslide patterns and dynamics. Therefore, we develop process-based models of forest dynamics and we regionalize terrain attributes, soil properties and hydrological factors by soil landscape modelling. The resulting information serves as static and dynamic predictors in a spatially-explicit, dynamic landscape model based on soil stability model theory. This landscape model helps to understand the interplay of the main drivers and predicts the spatiotemporal distribution of landslides along with their implications on habitat dynamics, biodiversity, risk assessment and forest management.

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