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Andrea D. Kupferschmid
Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research WSL
Zürcherstrasse 111
CH-8903 Birmensdorf

+41 44 739 28 13


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Effects of Ungulate Browsing on Forest Regeneration and Silviculture

Special implications for palatable tree species such as Abies alba

IUFRO International Symposium

Birmensdorf (Zürich),  Switzerland 14 - 16 October 2015

Ungulate browsing is one of the many factors that affect tree establishment, growth and mortality and thus both structure and species composition of forests. Tree saplings are part of the usual food of ungulate species and palatable tree species, like Abies alba (European silver fir), are often browsed by ungulates. At the same time, natural regeneration of a mixture of species is valued in mountain protection forests to mitigate damages of snow avalanches, rockfall, mass flow and wind storms. Thereby, species with deep rooting systems (like Abies alba and Acer pseudoplatanus) are particularly important.

Measuring and monitoring the effects of ungulates on forest regeneration pose however major challenges because leader shoot browsing rate linearly correlates neither with tree density nor with species composition. The conference intends to present the current state of knowledge on ungulate impacts on tree regeneration and their implications for forest stand dynamics. We specifically focus on sustainable natural tree regeneration under current and predicted future climate.

Conference Goals

The main goal of the conference is to summarize the state of knowledge on tree - ungulate interactions, with a particular emphasis on

  1. measuring the impact of ungulates at the scale of the individuals to the scale of the landscape, in terms of timber quality, stand composition, stand structure and forest dynamics.
  2. silvicultural management techniques to mitigate ungulate effects on natural regeneration, particularly on preferred tree species such as Abies alba.

A further goal is to discuss the difficulties of managing forests that simultaneously face climate change, increasing impacts of ungulates and cascading effects of carnivores and human hunting on forest regeneration.