Pasture woodlands and wetlands are transitional zones between different habitats that are sensitive to disturbances. We examine how environmental changes affect these fragile habitats and how the ecological balance can be restored.
In the Swiss Jura mountains, the enduring impact of humans and livestock on the landscape led to the formation of pasture woodlands, which are a mosaic of pastures, hedgerows and forest. The traditionally extensive use of this land for forestry and agriculture purposes led to high biodiversity, thereby safeguarding the balance of this human-influenced ecosystem.
However, land management methods have changed in recent decades. While some areas are still intensively grazed, others have been completely abandoned. If the pasture woodlands are not managed, they will disappear, and over time they will be replaced with pasture land or forest only.
Aquatic, terrestrial or both?
Wetlands are complex ecosystems with both aquatic and terrestrial characteristics. They provide a habitat for a wide variety of rare and endangered plant and animal species. The proximity of water and land plays an important role in the hydrological cycle, carbon cycle and nutrient cycle.
Many wetlands have been destroyed by drainage, whether completely or in part. This has a negative impact on the carbon cycle, particularly in the case of drained moors: organic carbon stored in the soil is released as carbon dioxide, which further contributes to global warming.
A better understanding for better provision
We examine the spatial and temporal dynamics of pasture woodlands and wetlands, such as moors and floodplains. We consider the effects of changes in land use and the impact of climate change on the plants and soil.