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Research projects

Early detection of drought

DROUGHT CH: Early recognition of critical drought conditions in Switzerland - coping with shortages in soil moisture, groundwater and runoff
DROUGHT CH

Droughts and heat waves are expected to become more frequent in Switzerland due to climate change. Droughts have major impacts on water resources, public health, ecosystems and consequently the economy. However, information about relevant economic and societal impacts and knowledge about adequate coping strategies are still lacking.

Available languages: German  English 

Analysis of climate related risks and chances in Switzerland
Climate risk analysis

The project develops a method to analyze and assess risks (and chances) related to climate change. The method is tested and applied to a regional case study in the Canton of Aargau. The method development and the assessment of climate risks are key elements of the Swiss national climate adaptation strategy.

Available languages: German  English 

ESPON CLIMATE: Climate Change and Territorial Effects on Regions and Local Economies - Case Study Alpine Space
ESPON CLIMATE

ESPON CLIMATE deals with the impacts of climate change on the European regions and their economies as well as the consequences for spatial planning. Therefore the projects seeks to analyse the regional sensitivities towards climate stimuli and the likely economic effects of climate change on European regions also considering mitigation and adaptation measures.

Available languages: German  English 

Effects of drought on soils

Soils and water regime of Swiss forests and forest sites under present and future climate (BOWA-CH)
BOWA-CH

For the whole forest area of Switzerland, we will map soil properties that are relevant for the water regime of forest stands. Based on this data we will run a water balance model for the 6000 plots of the National Forest Inventory (NFI) from 1980 to 2100 in order to detect regions that likely will suffer under increased drought in the near future.

Available languages: German  English 

Effects of drought on forrests

Interactive effects of CO2 and light conditions on drought resistance of conifer seedlings
Drought resistance of conifer seedlings

It is tested experimentally if autochthonous Scots Pine (Pinus sylvestris) can adapt to future climatic conditions at the Central Alpine forest-steppe ecotone, or whether tree regeneration might be assured by facilitating the migration of more drought resistant provenances and species, e.g. from southern Europe.

Available languages: English 

Querco - Oak ecosystems and climate change
Querco

Querco, in the sense of "quid Quercus, quo vadis?" To study the reaction of 3 local species of oak (each species with 4 provenances) to drought, increasing air temperature and a combination of the two will be the focus of this experiment.

Available languages: German  English  French 

Irrigation Experiment Pfynwald
Irrigation Experiment Pfynwald

Drought-induced forest decline will gain in importance as the frequency and severity of drought events are expected to increase in the context of climate change. To understand how chronic drought affects tree growth, we study mature Scots pine in an irrigation experiment in an inner-Alpine dry valley since 2003.

Available languages: English 

Drought and warming effects on C and O isotopes in European oaks
Drought and warming effects on C and O isotopes in European oaks

Effect of experimentally applied drought and warming on three oak species and provenances using C and O table isotopes in leaves, shoots, stems and roots.

Available languages: English 

Adaptive genetic variation of Norway spruce, silver fir, and beech
Genetic Variation

Die Klimerwärmung dürfte den Wald auf vielen Standorten unter Stress setzen. Wir untersuchen, ob die genetische Variation der Waldbäume es ihnen erlaubt, sich an den Klimawandel anzupassen. Wir fokussieren dabei auf die drei häufigsten Baumarten in Schweizer Wäldern, die Fichte, die Tanne und die Buche.

Available languages: German  English 

Trockenheit als limitierender Faktor für An- und Aufwuchs von Hauptbaumarten
Trockenheit als limitierender Faktor für An- und Aufwuchs von Hauptbaumarten

Für die Anpassung unserer Wälder an ein wärmeres Klima sind verschiedene Strategien denkbar. In diesem Projekt wird die Plastizität verschiedener Provenienzen von Waldföhre und Fichte bezüglich Trockenheit in der Jugendphase untersucht.

Available languages: German 

BuKlim: European beech in a changing climate
BuKlim

The BuKlim project aims to study the responses of Swiss beech provenances to drought. The results of the project help to assess the adaptational potential of this tree species to the changing climate.

Available languages: German  English 

Future tree species portfolio in a dry environment – a comparison of endemic and non-endemic species
Future tree species portfolio in a dry environment

A recent study on Scots pine and pubescent oak in Valais indicated that both species might not have the potential for long-term establishment and performance under an expected drier climate. We want to find out if non-endemic species can contribute to the tree-species portfolio for a drier future climate.

Available languages: German  English 

Konkurrenzkraft und Standortsensitivität von Baumarten (CASTS)
CASTS

Welchen Einfluss haben primäre Standortsfaktoren auf die Wachstumsmuster und die Konkurrenzkraft von Baumarten? Ist eine Verschiebung der Konkurrenzverhältnisse infolge von Umweltveränderungen möglich? Im Projekt werden das Wachstumsverhalten und die Konkurrenzkraft von ausgewählten Baumarten in Abhängigkeit primärer Standortsfaktoren - insbesondere der Bodenwasser- und Nährstoffverfügbarkeit - untersucht.

Available languages: German 

Growth potential and drought sensitivity of beech close to the dry distribution limit
Beech growth potential

Improving our knowledge about the growth response of beech to climatic changes at the dry distribution limit is crucial for today's and future forest management. This project aims to contribute to this topic using dendroecological methods.

Available languages: English 

Computer simulations

MEPHYSTO: Merging Empirical ecoPHYsiological and SpatioTemporal pOpulation dynamics forest models
MEPHYSTO

A landscape scale forest population dynamics model is extended with ecophysiology, and particularly the mechanisms of drought effects on trees.

Available languages: English 

TreeMig-CH: modelling climate change influenced spatio-temporal forest dynamics in Switzerland
TreeMig-CH: modelling climate change influenced spatio-temporal forest dynamics in Switzerland

In an ensemble study, the forest landscape model TreeMig is applied over Switzerland with various climate change and several land-use-change scenarios to explore the range of forest developments. This project is part of the OcCC/ProClim CH2014 initiative.

Available languages: English 

Water shortages

Climate change and hydropower production
hydropower

In this interdisciplinary project research teams from WSL (Mountain Hydrology and Torrents), Univ. Bern (Hydrology), ETH Zürich (Atmosphere and Climate, VAW Glaciology, Centre of Energy Policy and Economics) and Univ. Zürich (Physical Geography) have investigated the effect of a changing climate on the Swiss Hydropower production.

Available languages: German  English  French 

Forest Fire

ALP FFIRS ALPine Forest FIre waRning System
ALPFFIRS

The project aims to improve forest fire prevention under a changing climate in the Alpine Space, by creating a shared warning system based on weather conditions. The fire regime at any given location is the result of complex interactions between fuels, social issues, topography, ignitions and weather conditions. The analysis of fires frequency and distribution will allow to model forest fire danger in the alpine region.

Available languages: German  English  Italian 

Swissfire: Forest fire database of Switzerland
Swissfire

Swissfire is the new forest fire database of Switzerland, which has been developed in a joint effort by WSL and FOEN (Federal Office for the Environment). Now all information on forest fires is being collected in one central data base, which is an optimal tool for forest fire management.

Available languages: German  English  French  Italian 

Adaptation strategies

Mountland
Mountland

The goal of ‹Mountland› is to investigate the sensitivity of the provision of mountain ecosystem services to both climatic and land-use changes and to suggest policies and governance structures for mitigating the impact of such changes and enhancing sustainable management practices.

Available languages: German  English  French 

Adaptation to climate change
Climate adaptation

The effects of climate change are already visible today; further changes are expected. Especially in the sensitive alpine area extreme events such as floodings or heat will take place more often and more intensly. We investigate, how an adaptation to the effects of climate change can be realized.

Available languages: German  English 

 

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