WIT Press

Special Session Organized By D. De Wrachien & M. A. Lenzi


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147 - 151




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WIT Press


D. De Wrachien & M. A. Lenzi


Special session organized by D. De Wrachien & M. A. Lenzi Scope aims and topics The terms resource and natural disaster are a reflection of mankind’s perception of natural systems. When man recognises a natural system as useful, it becomes a resource whereas if it is potentially harmful, it is seen as a danger. In the absence of human settlement, however, there are neither resources nor dangers, but merely natural systems [1]. In this context a disaster can be defined as an event where damage exceeds the capacity of the affected society to recover by its own means. This implies that there are local disasters that can be dealt with by regional help and that there are regional or even national disasters that require national or international help. This definition does not implicitly include the terms \“frequent” or \“exceptional” but merely implies that the size of a disaster is related to the specific society affected and underlines the fact that the weaker are usually the most severely affected by natural disasters [2]. Water-forest related natural disasters – to which the large woody debris accumulations (LWD), debris and hyper-concentrated flows belong – are mainly the result of physical processes, which cause disasters when they interact with human activities. The mitigation of such phenomena could, therefore, be achieved by reducing this interaction, by altering the natural system, the human system of both. The trend of increase in the environmental and economic impacts of natural disasters, and in particular the water-forest related ones, has continued during the past half century. Over the last 30 years, although the number of lives lost by natural disasters has declined, the number of people affected and estimated economic losses have been steadily increasing. LWD, debris and hyper-concentrated flows result from the interaction of hydrological processes with geological process and are triggered when soils get saturated and the stability of the slope is no longer maintained. These flows are among the most destructive of all water-related disasters. They mainly affect mountain areas in a wide range of morphoclimatic environments and in recent years have attracted more a more attention from the scientific and professional