Watershed and forest management for landslide risk reduction

Dolidon, N. et al., 2009. Springer

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Landslide hazard can be influenced by natural resource management and rural development related activities, such as forest management, road construction, agricultural practices and river management. Vegetation cover and its utilizations may play a role in mitigating the risk of landsliding. Moreover and above all, it does play a role in mitigating the processes leading to increased landslide hazard, such as gully erosion. Thus, forest management and development are of particular concern. But all people living in mountain areas rely on the soil stability for their livelihoods, and their livelihoods may influence this soil stability. Therefore all related activities have to be done on an appropriate way in order to promote soil and slope stability. To identify best adapted practices in a particular area, to organize spatially the different land uses and to promote the implementation of the identified best practices, the ideal scale is the watershed. It allows addressing upstream-downstream linking issues, such as landslides, and provides a framework for sound land use planning. However, it is not always possible to implement actions exactly with the watershed boundaries. From the lack of knowledge regarding the scientific evidence of the role of forests against landslides to the institutional challenge of implementing watershed scaled policies, many progresses have to be done regarding this issue. But the already existing scientific knowledge, the integrated projects which are already implemented and the results which are obtained are encouraging. Above all, they show that fundamental research, socio-economic levers and institutional development have to be carried out and developed in a sound way, towards a better understanding of all the natural and man-made processes and a better management of all natural resources, in particular water and soil of the mountain areas.

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