To be able
to protect endangered ecosystems it is essential to understand how they work.
Which criteria influence the structure of plant communities? How do carbon and
nutrients circulate in these ecosystems? What will be the incidences of global
change (biological invasions, land use, climate changes) on their composition,
structure, functioning and on the services they render?
The functioning of ecosystems
methods and biotic interactions between plants or between plants and soil
organisms affect the composition of plant communities and their
functioning. Therefore the study
of the rules which govern the assembly of plant communities is essential for
the understanding of the processes taking place there.
Global change: biological invasions
invasions belong worldwide to the most important threats to biodiversity. As it
is very difficult to forecast the success of an invasive species, we try to
determine the capacity of resistance of the local plant communities.
Global change: the effects of climate warming
climatic changes expected for the coming years will impact on the functioning
of eco-systems. We develop field tests in order to evaluate the impact of
climate warming on the structure and biogeochemical cycles in plant communities.
change: forestry and dead wood
The maintenance of biodiversity is a key issue of
sustainable forest management in Switzerland.
In particular, dead and old trees play in important role for thousands of
forest-dwelling species. Therefore, in order to be sustainable, the Swiss forest management needs a strategy for the
maintenance of dead wood and veteran trees.
change: the situation in
of its location in a mountainous area, Switzerland is particularly affected by
climate change. Our analyses of climate evolution allow us to better understand
how changes will happen and to anticipate possible consequences concerning
forest ecosystems or sectors of human society such as tourism.