Washington State University researchers say landslides on logged forests will be more widespread as the Northwest climate changes.
In a study modelled on clear-cut lands on the Olympic Peninsula, they anticipate the climate of 2045 and conclude that there will be a 7-11 percent increase in the land that is highly vulnerable to landslides. The researchers say their findings are applicable to the Cascade Mountain Range area as well.
The study, published in Engineering Geology, is the first to look at landslides and climate change in the Pacific Northwest. The University of Washington’s Climate Impacts Group “State of Knowledge” report in 2015 looked at reasons behind climate-influenced landslides — earlier snowmelt, more rain, less cohesive soils — but stopped short of predicting an increase in landslides.
The WSU study goes a step further.
“Logged landscapes become more susceptible to landslide activity under climate change,” said Jennifer Adam, an associate professor of civil and environmental engineering and associate director of the State of Washington Water Research Center.
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