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The core of ecorisQ is made of its members. By joining ecorisQ you will expand your professional network and profit from transparent tools in the field of natural hazard risks. Being an ecorisQ member demonstrates that you are willing to increase the transparancy and reproducibility of natural hazard analyses and that you promote sustainable protection against natural hazards.  

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The April 2024 Piz Scerscen Bergsturz (Photo: SAC Bernina)

On Sunday 14 April 2024, a Bergsturz with more than 1 million m3 occurred on the north face of Piz Scerscen (Switzerland). Although this event occurred spontaneously after several days with high temperatures, nobody got hurt. Since a lot of water has been observed in the failure zone, melting of snow and ice very probably played an important role. The runout distance was 5.4 km, which coressponds to a energy line angle of 15° (following the travel path) and 16° (following a straight line) - typical values for such events. An impressive movie showing the release, transit and deposit area can be found here (commented in the beautiful Rumantsch - the fourth Swiss national language).

With our new rockfall runout simulation tool named RockavELA, we try to predict the propagation of such events.


We launched bèta versions of two news tools, one for shallow landslide hazard assemsment called SlideforMAP and the second for streambank erosion called BankforMAP. SlideforMAP is a probabilistic model to assess shallow landslide probability on a regional scale with an explicit focus on vegetation scenarios. BankforMAP is a two-dimensional model that computes the probability of streambank erosion at the catchment scale due to a rainfall event and can also calculate transport and deposition of large wood along streams. 


During the last years we were working on the improvement of the online tool “SlideforNET”, now available here. The tool supports specialists in the assessment of hazards due to shallow landslides on vegetated slope and in the quantitative evaluation of bioengineering measures following normed approaches such as the use of reliability index or partial security factors (including the one for root reinforcement!!).  Moreover, the new table “Stand diagram” supports foresters in the decision of interventions in protection forests. The major technical improvements consist in the implementation of new root reinforcement data, improved stability calculations described in van Zadelhoff et al. (2022), based on the results of Cohen and Schwarz (2017) and Schwarz et al. (2015)

Lignatec ecorisQ Timbercounter NatHaz

In collaboration with Lignum, ecorisQ published a summary description of the use of timber in hazard mitigation structures against erosion and landslides, as well as in torrent control and avalanche protection. This easy-to-read and hands-on publication presents tried and tested constructions and their applications. Therefore, this publication not only aims at experts in forestry construction
engineering, but also at planners in natural hazard prevention and those interested in building with wood in general. The publication pdf can be publicly downloaded here (6.66 MB) .

NZ flood AUG2022

Europe battles high temperatures, fires, and record low river levels that have exposed historical artefacts not seen for centuries while New Zealand experiences its wettest winter on record. What is happening, and are our natural hazards becoming well, more hazardous and more frequent?

Many parts of New Zealand experienced the wettest July since records began. Then in August a tropical atmospheric river brought unprecedented rainfall to several parts of the country causing flooding, landslides and damage to infrastructure which will run into the millions to repair. This last deluge was on top of already wet ground and a sodden landscape. While rainfall intensities were not particularly high in many places, the sheer volume of water in and on the landscape exceeded thresholds for failure in many localities.

Fortunately, there were no fatalities. However, many houses were damaged, and a number have been condemned. Insurance claims will be in the many hundreds of millions of dollars. Main roads between towns in the upper South Island are closed, and many rural roads damaged so badly that it may take months to years to provide access to isolated communities and households.

What we used to consider as a 1 in 100-year event appears to now be occurring more frequently, though we don’t have long record lengths for many areas of the country. Some communities who have been affected multiple times in recent years will now need to find ways to adapt to these new conditions or abandon the places they call home. They and the country will soon no longer be able to afford to foot the bill for repeat damage in the same locality as the insurance industry looks towards withdrawing cover from such areas.

Climate change in action or part of natural variation? Either way, our understanding and management of natural hazards needs more attention than it has received in the last few decades. Otherwise, our communities will continue to be unprepared and look to blame someone else for the impacts that arise.