THE IMPORTANCE OF PROTECTED AREAS AS NATURAL LANDSLIDE LABORATORIES
Geological hazards such as landslides pose potential threats to people and infrastructure, and, accordingly, are a high priority for scientific study. However, the very presence of that infrastructure in developed areas can potentially influence landslide behavior, complicating efforts to assess the natural triggering and displacement mechanics of landslide events. Protected areas – such as natural reserves, conservation areas, and national parks – are particularly valuable as laboratories for landslide studies because they typically exhibit only those natural factors important for understanding landslide behavior. In this paper we examine the importance of protected areas as natural landslide laboratories, consider the benefits of long-term landslide investigation, discuss how protected areas may be used to monitor different landslide types, and present some of the key investigational and operational characteristics of suitable natural landslide laboratories.