A new methodological protocol for the use of dendrogeomorphological data in flood risk analysis

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Dendrogeomorphology uses information sources recorded in the roots, trunks and branches of trees and bushes located in the fluvial system to complement (or sometimes even replace) systematic and palaeohydrological records of past floods. The application of dendrogeomorphic data sources and methods to palaeoflood analysis over nearly 40 years has allowed improvements to be made in frequency and magnitude estimations of past floods. Nevertheless, research carried out so far has shown that the dendrogeomorphic indicators traditionally used (mainly scar evidence), and their use to infer frequency and magnitude, have been restricted to a small, limited set of applications. New possibilities with enormous potential remain unexplored. New insights in future research of palaeoflood frequency and magnitude using dendrogeomorphic data sources should: (1) test the application of isotopic indicators (16O/18O ratio) to discover the meteorological origin of past floods; (2) use different dendrogeomorphic indicators to estimate peak flows with 2D (and 3D) hydraulic models and study how they relate to other palaeostage indicators; (3) investigate improved calibration of 2D hydraulic model parameters (roughness); and (4) apply statistics-based cost–benefit analysis to select optimal mitigation measures. This paper presents an overview of these innovative methodologies, with a focus on their capabilities and limitations in the reconstruction of recent floods and palaeofloods.

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