Research Branch

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Snow Avalanche: Management in Forested Terrain

Author(s) or contact(s): P. Weir
Source: Research Branch
Subject: Erosion, Mass Wasting and Landslides
Series: Land Management Handbook
Other details:  Published 2002. Hardcopy is available.


Snow avalanches are a common phenomenon in most mountain ranges of British Columbia and forest damage is a natural occurrence. Forest harvesting on steep slopes in areas of high snow supply can create new avalanche start zones. Snow avalanches starting in recently harvested areas can damage new plantations, destroy downslope forest resources, and lead to soil loss and site degradation. Snow avalanches can be triggered by forest workers or winter recreationists in steep cutblocks; that is, in areas that were not prone to avalanching prior to harvest.

This handbook addresses snow and avalanche phenomena in a forestry setting and presents a risk assessment procedure suitable for incorporation in the terrain stability field assessment process. The handbook outlines harvest design and silvicultural strategies to reduce the risk of avalanche damage resulting from forest harvesting. Strategies for managing avalanche risks in winter are presented. An extensive bibliography is included, along with links to relevant publications, data sources, and resources available on the internet.

Download Land Management Handbook 55 PDF file (complete document) (4160 KB)

Part 1: cover to page 44 (download PDF files in 4 parts) (1542 KB)

Part 2: page 45 to page 84 (957 KB)

Part 3: page 85 to page 128 (1345 KB)

Part 4: page 129 to end (1136 KB)

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Updated April 26, 2007