ALIEN - Assessing long term effects of invasive tree species on the protective function of forests against rockfall in Switzerland and France: The case of Ailanthus altissima (Tree of heaven)

In the Alps, Ailanthus is an invasive species from China. In an international project led by the BFH-HAFL, ailanthus invaded forests are being investigated in Ticino and in China to quantify their protective effect against rockfall.


  • Lead-Departement Hochschule für Agrar-, Forst- und Lebensmittelwissenschaften
  • Institut Multifunktionale Waldwirtschaft
  • Forschungseinheit Gebirgswald, Naturgefahren und GIS
  • Förderorganisation SNF
  • Laufzeit 01.01.2015 - 31.12.2018
  • Projektverantwortung Luuk Dorren
  • Projektleitung Luuk Dorren
  • Schlüsselwörter invasive species, protection forest, rockfall, dendrogeomorphology


The main goal is to assess the development of forest stands that are invaded by ailanthus altissima trees and to develop methods that allow to quantify the protective effect of such forests against rockfalls over time.


Collect forest ecological data on Ailanthus altissima; develop a mechanical model of Ailanthus altissima subjected to rock impacts; Identify determinants of invasion success of Ailanthus altissima and develop scenarios of the development of Ailanthus invaded protection forests; Development of tools for quantifying the protective function of Ailanthus invaded protection forests; Validation of results; disseminate project outcomes.