HILUC - Hydrological Impact of Historical Land Use and Climate

HILUC (Hydrological Impact of Historical Land Use and Climate) is an inter- and transdisciplinary research project on flood formation in small Alpine catchments from about 1850 to the present, focusing on the impact of specific land use practices.

Based on the results of a preliminary project, an interdisciplinary research team from history, land use research, forest ecology, soil science and hydrology will work together to achieve the following goals:

  • Selection of four small catchment areas in Tyrol, taking into account natural features, availability of historical land use data and information on extreme runoff events
  • Mapping of current hydrologically relevant properties in the four watersheds
  • Research on historical maps on land use with corresponding explanations (around 1850) with focus on forest use practices (especially litter use, forest grazing, branch-cutting) as well as reconstruction of the forest situation around 1960 based on inventory data and aerial photographs
  • Quantify the influence of historical practices on soil, vegetation, and runoff generation through field experiments (litter raking, rainfall simulation experiments) in conjunction with laboratory analyses
  • Preparation of the modeling results and the gained process understanding as well as measures derivable from them for educational concepts, teaching materials and publications
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Project news

Scan of the historical map Waldamt Kitzbühel 1839

Scan of the historical map Waldamt Kitzbühel 1839. © Land Tirol / Abteilung Tiroler Landesarchiv, 2023

Leaf harvest transported by horse and cart

Leaf harvesting with transport on two-wheeled horse-drawn carts. Caduff & Brockmann-Jerosch, 1929, Fig. 43. Photo © Engel

Forest utilisation and flooding: HILUC project investigates the connections

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