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Department of Natural Hazards
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Research of the unit concentrates mainly on catchment water turnover in torrents. Based on precipitation data provided by the hydrographic services or the Unit of Torrent and Erosion of our department we study the precipitation distribution in alpine catchments. Special emphasis is placed on the retention capacity in vegetation (crown retention - interception, transpiration, soil stabilising effect of roots).

We are interested in the amounts of water reaching the torrent as direct runoff (surface runoff) and as subsurface return runoff (interflow), or - with temporal delay - as groundwater runoff. In this respect, we address the influence of anthropogenic activities (opening up of roads, flattening the surface of ski pistes, type and intensity of forest and agricultural use, etc.) on runoff behaviour. Based on the available field data and ongoing new investigations we develop simple, easy to understand approaches for the hydrological evaluation of tributing catchment areas to find out the runoff rates in different catchments, including the elaboration of runoff models suitable for practical application.

Priority Areas of Work

  • Runoff and erosion in alpine catchments, vegetation as runoff indicator
  • Flood risk assessment in alpine catchments
  • Land use and management - influence on runoff formation and erosion
  • Runoff control and prevention, erosion control
  • Applied soil physics
  • Simulation of heavy rain and continuous rain for runoff and infiltration property analysis
  • Further development of hydrological models, development of methods and concepts for runoff prevention and erosion control
  • Elaboration of concepts for hydrological optimisation of catchments
  • Vegetation and soil mapping, elaboration of land use and runoff risk maps
  • Expert opinions
  • Knowledge transfer to science and practice - publications, presentations, training and expert advice to authorities (Forest Technical Service for Torrent and Avalanche Control, Federal Ministry for Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Water Management, hydrographic offices, universities, Forest Service and forest practice).


Gerhard Markart
Head of Unit
+43-0512-573933-5130 Innsbruck, Room 302

Bernhard Kohl

Plant Sociology, Soil Physics, GIS, Precipitation and Runoff Models

+43-0512-573933-5132 Innsbruck, Room 305


Databases, Computer Programming, Measurement

+43-0512-573933-5178 Innsbruck, Room 204

Torrent, Hydrology, Torrent Research Areas +43-1-87838-2212       

Klaus Klebinder

GIS, Geomorphology, Hydrology

+43-0512-573933-5158 Innsbruck, Room 304

Forest and Natural Hazards, GIS
+43-0512-573933-5124 Innsbruck, Room 205

Gerhard Priesch
Technical assistance for monitoring

Bernadette Sotier

GIS, Geomorphology, Hydrology, Soil Science

+43-0512-573933-5138 Innsbruck, Room 301

Nikolaus Suntinger

Measurement, Phytosanitary Services


Innsbruck, Room 204


Unit of Water Balance in Alpine Catchments
Rennweg 1, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria

Head of Unit: Dipl.-Ing. Dr. Gerhard Markart
Tel. +43-512/573933-5130, Fax: +43-512/573933-5250

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