The WSL Magazine DIAGONAL
a year (every June and November) our free magazine, DIAGONAL, reports in
English, French and German on WSL's latest research findings and on its work.
Besides providing specific information on our core research topics, each
edition of the magazine focuses on a given topic.
DIAGONAL No. 2/16
A future without nuclear power and less greenhouse gases: the energy
transition promises a more sustainable future. But can Switzerland meet
its needs with alternative energy sources? And will their development
bring about unwanted side-effects for both man and nature? WSL’s Energy
Change Impact research program sets out to answer these questions.
DIAGONAL No. 1/16
February 2015: SLF researchers trigger three avalanches in Vallée de la
Sionne (canton of Valais) as part of a large-scale experiment. A pylon
equipped with sensors placed in the middle of the test site provides
important data for studying the speed, pressure and range of avalanches.
In addition to this site, WSL operates other unique test sites where
researchers study debris flows, rockfall and sediment transport in
streams and rivers under natural conditions. There are also major
long-term experiments underway in forests in order to better understand
processes in nature and adapt management methods accordingly.
DIAGONAL No. 2/15
What do you think of when you hear the word soil? Do you smell the moist, slightly musty soil of the forest? Do you feel the dried earth in your hands from your gardening? Do you multiply land prices by square meters in your head?
From an environmental perspective, soil is the foundation of life. It has been formed over thousands of years from bedrock through the interaction of climate and organisms, primarily countless fungi, bacteria and plants. It holds back rainwater, stores nutrients, is the habitat for thousands of creatures and serves as a carbon sink. However, if new housing and roads are built, if pollutants penetrate into the ground, or if heavy machinery damages the soil, it loses the ability to perform these functions in the ecosystem. It takes decades or even centuries for damaged soil to become fertile again – in terms of human life, soil as a natural resource is not renewable.
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