Landslides kill thousands each year, mainly in developing countries but also along the coasts and in mountainous areas of the United States. However we know fairly little about what controls their runout and impacts. The work here is highly interdisciplinary, linking forest ecology with geomorphologists - we linked forest biomass, structure, and geometry to debris flow behavior. We found that structure and shape matter, and cities below large statured forests are a safer then those in more open landscapes as runout is shorter and stops on steeper slopes. The results here will help guide community planning and risk assessment. Brian Buma (Integrative Biology) was one of the PI's on the project.
You can read the publication here.