Authors: (Peter Höller, Federal Research and Training Centre for Forests, Natural Hazards and Landscape, Dept. Natural Hazards, Hofburg, Innsbruck, Austria)
Abstract: Avalanche control contains supporting structures in the release area, catching and deflecting dams in the runout zone as well as hazard zoning. Temporary measures (artificial release of avalanches) and the redeveloping of mountain forests are further alternatives to protect humans and infrastructure from avalanches. However, the risk of avalanches cannot be reduced completely; people in mountainous areas will have to live with a remaining risk. As the costs for avalanche control are the higher the more the risk should be minimized, a certain risk value is defined as reasonable (acceptable risk). The lack of records of historic events is another important limitation in avalanche protection, especially in hazard zoning. Chronicles in most cases contain relatively short periods; hence it is very difficult to identify events with a long return period. Biological limitations are predetermined by the environmental conditions.