Field work

Field work during the summer 2023

During the summer, the HILUC team competed a wide range of fieldwork. Part of the fieldwork was laser scanning, humus and soil sampling, litter removal, hemispherical photography and rainfall simulations.

Laser scanning

Through the laser scanning of the research plots it is possible, to collect information about stand and surface characteristics of the forest.

Man with terrestrial laser scanner

Terrestrial long-range laser scanning system RIEGL VZ-2000i.
Photo © M. Gröber, 2023

Visualisation of a forest raw point cloud

Raw point cloud of single scannposition.
Photo © L. Müller, 2023

Humus and soil sampling

To determine the amount of carbon and nutrients stored in forest humus and soil, samples were acquired. Furthermore, samples were taken for the investigation of mycorrhiza.

Man with terrestrial laser scanner

Humus frame for taking a humus sample.
Photo © M. Gröber, 2023

Drill core soil sample in a polystyrene tray.

Core sample in the transport container.
Photo © R. Schrott, 2023

Litter removal

Until the middle of the 19th century, litter raking was practiced by local farmers in the forests of Tyrol. In the process, the organic layer was first mown with special scythes and then collected with rakes. The obtained material was later used as bedding in the stables.

After an extensive literature research and interviews with local farmers we tried to recreate the historical use of the forest.

Historical short scythe about a meter long and pen wide rake head lying on a wooden parquet photographed.

Historical short scythe about one meter long and rake head as used in the litter removal experiment.
Photo © R. Schrott, 2023

Worked forest area of about 20 by 20 meters and dark brown colored subsoil with vegetation removed and top soil layer.

Litter used forest area of about 20 by 20 meters with vegetation removed and top soil layer.
Photo © R. Schrott, 2023

Hemispherical Photography

Hemispherical Photography is a technique that can be used to estimate canopy closure or leaf area index. This involves taking upward photos of the forest canopy with a wide-angel lens. To determine the influence of the litter removal on the forest canopy, the photos were taken bevor and several times after the intervention.

Photo taken up into the sky with a fisheye lens and capturing tree tops.

Hemispherical photo with a fisheye objective and capture of tree tops.
Photo © R. Schrott, 2023

Rainfall simulation

In cooperation with our partners from the Austrian Forest Research Centre (BFW), rainfall simulations were carried out using a transportable spray irrigation installation. To measure the surface runoff a drain is placed at the end of the irrigation plot, which ends in a measuring tank. These rainfall simulations were executed two times, bevor the litter removal and after. Through this we try to get a better understanding of the effect of humus and the influence of litter removal on surface runoff development.

10 by 15 meter sprinkler system that produces fine spray mist.

Large-scale irrigation system of the BFW in operation under forest.
Photo © R. Schrott, 2023.

Parts of our field work were accompanied by a film crew.
You can see the first clip here:

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