Field work in the Khumbu Valley 2019!

In September 2018, the second round of data collection in the Khumbu regioncouldn’t be executed because of bad weather conditions. It was postponed to April/May 2019 when Moritz Waas, project assistant and Geography student at the University of Innsbruck spend several weeks in the Khumbu area for his Master’s thesis     . Moritz was supported by Nima Nuru Sherpa and Tsewang Kalden Sherpa, two students from Kathmandu who are originally from the local community of Monjo.

The second round of interviews with local tourism entrepreneurs was successfully completed during a two weeks long survey campaign where familiar faces were met from the first survey in 2017.

 The interviews will help to further develop our understanding of social resilience in the Khumbu region. Also, we hope to gain valuable insights into people’s decision-making and actions when dealing with natural hazards.

The survey participants were invited for our workshop in the beginning of next year, to discuss together research findings and to develop knowledge and practices that are valuable for local actors from different societal groups. The invitations were received with great enthusiasm!

Local villager crosses a bridge over the Dudh Koshi river in the Sagarmatha National Park ©Moritz Waas
Finally, the weather god was on our side: the data collection crew arrived safely at the airport in Lukla (Nima Nuru Sherpa, Tsewang Kalden Sherpa, Moritz Waas) ©Moritz Waas
Tswang Kalden Sherpa during an Interview in the study area ©Nima Nuru Sherpa

Field work about Protection Forests in the Khumbu region for a Master’s Thesis

Moritz Waas, Geography Masters student from the University of Innsbruck, works as a project assistant for the touRES project and is currently writing his Master’s thesis about protection forests in the Khumbu region. The study is based on a GIS based statistical rockfall, avalanche and channel process model which was originally developed for the Alps. Through our cooperation with another Earth System Sciences project from the Academy of Sciences, an adapted model for the Khumbu Himal was developed. The aim of the study is it to show potential process paths, as well as potential and existing protection forest areas. The field work was carried out between Lukla in the South and Thame in the North of Sagarmatha National Park in April and May 2019.

During the field work, Mortitz was able to validate pre-modelled natural hazard processes close to human infrastructure. Moreover, valuable discussions with local people helped to reflect his research ideas. Back in Innsbruck, he will now incorporate the insights in his Master’s Thesis. We are looking forward to it!

Newly built house close to a rockfall deposit in Begnkar ©Moritz Waas

One of the many suspension bridges on the way to Namche Bazar over the Dudh Kosi river ©Moritz Waas
Local Sherpa boy playing around with Moritz’s GPS device ©Moritz Waas

Falk, M., & Steiger, R. (2018). An Exploration of the Debt Ratio of Ski Lift Operators. Sustainability, 10(9).

Falk, M., & Steiger, R. (2018). An Exploration of the Debt Ratio of Ski Lift Operators. Sustainability, 10(9).  (Link)

This article examines the determinants of the debt-to-capital ratio of ski lift operators. The analysis is based on the total population of 248 ski lift operators in Austria. The median debt-to-capital ratio is 73%, with a highly skewed distribution, where almost every fourth operator exhibits negative equity capital. Robust regressions show that the debt-to-capital ratio significantly depends on the size of the ski area, elevation, location, presence of a neighboring ski area, supply of accommodation nearby, and the proportion of foreign overnight stays. However, the significance and magnitude of these factors differ between East and West Austria. For eastern Austria, larger ski operators, with neighboring resorts close by and a vast supply of accommodation, have a significantly lower debt-to-capital ratio. In western Austria, elevation and presence of a neighbor are significant predictors. Operators with a neighbor nearby exhibit a 15-percentage-point lower debt ratio.

Data collection Sagarmatha 2018

The second round of data collection was ought to be carried out in September 2018. However, due to bad weather conditions, the survey team never made it to the study area. While the survey was postponed, qualitative interviews focusing on glacial lakes outburst floods and the early warning system in Sagarmatha National Park and Buffer Zone were successfully conducted by Dr. Pranil Upadhayay.

Survey Team at Tribhuvan Airport in Kathmandu after their flight was cancelled five times on five days in a row – ke garne?! © Clemens Rossmanith


Dr. Pranil Upadhayay with respondent in Monjo © Pranil Upadhayay

Master’s Thesis on Road Construction, Tourism, and Livelihood in Manang, Nepal

Due to thematic proximity with the TourRES project, the thesis of Clemens Rossmanith is briefly introduced in this Blog. The study deals with the impacts of a road construction project on livelihoods in Manang, a village on 3550 m in the eastern part of the Annapurna Conservation Area. Special emphasis was placed on the effects on the tourism enterprises and their adaption to the changed circumstances. Furthermore, the effects of road construction on landslide activity and poverty alleviation were analysed. Field work was carried out in three months from August to October 2017.
Manang village (3500m) with surrounding fields in the arid Nyishang valley © Clemens Rossmanith
Prayer wheels in Manang © Clemens Rossmanith
Recent landslide in the lower parts of the Manang road © Clemens Rossmanith
Peasant woman in Manang in front of her field of buckwheat © Clemens Rossmanith