Nationality Swiss
Year of selection2008
InstitutionUniversity of Fribourg
RiskEnvironmental risks

Type of support

Post-Doctoral Fellowship

Granted amount

50 900 €


1 year

Tree Stories

Would you believe that trees tell stories? At least to those who know how to read them. Dr. Michelle Schneuwly-Bollschweiler uses tree rings to study past occurrences of debris fl ows* and to investigate the impact of climate change on the frequency of such events. Dr. Schneuwly-Bollschweiler samples trees showing signs of injury from debris fl ows and counts the annual growth rings formed after the scars in order to date the debris-fl ow event. Using this method, she managed to obtain a picture of debris-fl ow occurrences in the Swiss Alps from 1600 to the present day! She linked her results to the occurrence of extreme rainfall* over the past few decades. Dr. Schneuwly-Bollschweiler's results may help predict the future frequency of debris fl ows. This may ultimately be useful to local authorities for safe land-use planning and the building of protection structures.

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