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Vegetation dynamics on permanent plots in the Swiss National Park

Since the foundation of the Swiss National Park in 1914, one focus of botanical research has always been long-term monitoring of vegetation development. To observe vegetation development, Josias Braun-Blanquet established approximately 30 permanent plots between 1917 and 1921. As of 1939 Balthasar Stüssi extended the monitoring program to more than 160 permanent plots. As relevées have been repeated on the permanent plots at more or less regular intervals, we are now able to make precise statements about long-term development of tall-herb communities, nutrient-rich meadows, rich and poor pastures as well as woodland communities.

Permanent plot Stabelchod in the past   Permanent plot Minger in the past
Permanent plot "Stabelchod" in the past
  Permanent plot "Minger" in the past
Permanent plot Stabelchod today   Permanent plot Minger today
Permanent plot "Stabelchod" today
  Permanent plot "Minger" today

Besides the plots established to monitor the dominant vegetation units present in the Park, permanent plots were also set up to observe the population dynamics of particular species. These included: the advance of the mountain pine (Pinus montana) on pastures abandoned following the founding of the Swiss National Park back in 1914, the radial growth of tor grass (Brachypodium pinnatum) colonies as well as the growth and propagation of tussocks of evergreen sedge (Carex sempervirens).


  • Martin Schütz (
  • Anita Risch
Keywords long-term vegetation dymanics, swiss national park, braun-blanquet, biodiversity, red deer