- May 2017
In Alaska specifically, the term berm is used to describe various types of long, low ridge structures constructed from dirt, gravel, snow, or forest vegetation. This term can be interchangeable with berm pile, burn pile, berm row, and snow berm. It is believed that the word berm is of Dutch decent. The term first appeared in written English in the eighteenth century regarding the military construction of “a space of ground from 3 to 8 feet wide, sometimes left between the ditch and the base of the parapet.” In more recent times, the term has used to describe “a narrow shelf, edge, or path typically at the bottom or top of a slope or along a bank” (Tabbert, 1985). These berms can be made of gravel, stone, forest vegetation, dirt, or snow (Society for Science & the Public, 1972) In “Reactions of Large Groups of Caribou to a Pipeline Corridor on the Arctic Coastal Plain of Alaska,” Walter T. Smith and Raymond D. Cameron discuss the problems Caribou have with navigating around pipelines and their possible causes. They found that caribou were more successful crossing sections of buried pipeline compare to elevated pipeline. Smith and Cameron speculate that this could be a result of the berm dimensions- height and width (Smith & Cameron, 1985).
Smith, W. T., & Cameron, R. D. (1985). Reactions of Large Groups of Caribou to a Pipeline Corridor on the Arctic Coastal Plain of Alaska. Arctic, 53-57.
Society for Science & the Public. (1972). The Big Pipeline: Focus on Impact. Science News, 199.
Tabbert, R. (1985). Berm in Alaskan English. American Speech, 93-94.