Assessment and analysis of rockfall-caused tree injuries in a Turkish fir stand: A case study from Kastamonu-Turkey

Aydin A., Kose N., Akkemik U., Yurtseven H.

JOURNAL OF MOUNTAIN SCIENCE, vol.9, no.2, pp.137-146, 2012 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 9 Issue: 2
  • Publication Date: 2012
  • Doi Number: 10.1007/s11629-012-2233-9
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.137-146
  • Istanbul University Affiliated: Yes


Rockfalls can cause serious damage to people, property, facilities and transportation corridors. Furthermore, rockfalls are major hazards in mountain areas with negative impacts on individual trees and forested ecosystems. We conducted a study of rockfall events on 117 mapped (91% of total trees in the stand with > 1.3 m in height and > 5 cm diameter at breast height) Turkish fir trees (Abies bornmuelleriana Mattf.) in a stand within the KayaarkasA +/--Top double dagger ular Village, Inebolu district, Kastamonu province of Turkey. The study site of 0.35 Ha is located on the transition zone of frequently passing rockfall fragments (similar to 40 cm in diameter) generally causing healable injuries. Parameters of trees and injuries were recorded and analysed as to injury number, height and size. Bivariate correlation analysis were used to investigate the relationships between: a) diameter at breast height and number of injuries per tree, b) diameter at breast height and total injury size, c) the number of injuries and total injury size and d) the number of injuries per tree and distance from the source of the rockfall area. Results indicate that the average height of injury, average number of injuries and average injury area to be 81.3 cm (STDEV: 49.8), 7.46 (STDEV: 4.4) and 628.6 cm(2) (STDEV: 678.2), respectively. In total 84% of all injuries were recorded within 160A degrees sector at the upslope side of trees and callus tissue that had closed wounds was observed in 79.1% of all injuries. Furthermore 14.5% of injured trees had callus tissue in the process of closing wounds while 6.4% of injuries had not formed any callus tissue. The most common injury types were bark and wood injuries. Bivariate correlation analysis indicated strong relationships between diameter at breast height and the number of injuries (r(s) = 0.524), injury number and total injury area (r(s) = 0.653) and distance from rockfall area and injury numbers relations (r(s) = -0.518). A weaker relationship was found between diameter at breast height and total injury area (r(s) = 0.363). These results indicate that bigger trees are more prone to rockfall injuries. As expected, trees further from the rockfall area seem to be less prone to rockfall injuries. From our results, it can be inferred that the protection of people and property can be increased through the maintanance of forest in areas immediately below areas prone to rockfall. This stand is still managed in selective forest management system. In order to protect the settlement at the deposition zone it has to manage for protective goals with uneven-aged and multilayered stand structure.