Dr. Rita Bütler Sauvain
Head of Forest Biodiversity, Canton of Vaud, DGE Direction générale de l'environnement - Inspection cantonale des forêts
Scientific collaborator, EPFL Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Lausanne, Laboratory of Ecosystem Management
Biologist, SFFN Service des forêts, de la faune et de la nature du canton de Vaud, Lausanne
Lecturer and project leader, VŜST Technical University, Liberec, Czechia
- 2003: PhD EPFL: Dead wood in managed forests: how much and how much is enough? Development of a snag-quantification method by remote sensing and GIS and snag targets based on Three-toed woodpeckers' habitat requirements. Hintermann&Weber research award
- 1995: Master degree in Environmental Sciences, EPFL
- 1989: Diploma for teaching of natural sciences - mathematics, PHSG Pädagogische Hochschule, St. Gallen
- 1984: Baccalaureate Latin, St. Gallen.
- Dead wood ecology – roles of coarse woody debris for forest biodiversity
- Forest ecology – Natural forests
- Comparison between managed and unmanaged forests
- Sustainable forest management
- Habitat trees, inventories of tree-related microhabitats (TreMs)
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. In managed forests, large dead and very old trees, key elements for dead-wood dependent species, are often lacking. Consequently, in order to be sustainable the Swiss forest management needs a strategy for the maintenance of dead wood and veteran trees. I am searching for answers to questions such as: Which dead wood and old tree management techniques are most suitable for different regions of Switzerland? Are there regions of special concern for the maintenance of dead-wood species?
Species depending on dead wood and very old trees are called saproxylic species. Many of them are endangered in most parts of central Europe, including Switzerland. One of the main reasons is intensive forest management in production-oriented forests. In addition, dead trees and harvesting remnants are becoming a focus for a rapidly increasing demand for wood energy. A conflict between this renewable energy source and the habitat demand of saproxylic species may be a probable consequence. For these reasons, I am interested in questions such as: How much dead wood would be enough for species depending on this substrate? How should old-growth patches and dead wood be distributed in the forest landscape?
The maintenance and promotion of veteran trees and dead wood is a main focus of the Federal Office of Environment and the cantons to maintain forest biodiversity. However, in practice many questions are still open and there is a lack of information exchange. The purpose of this internet-platform is to facilitate communication and exchange of information between practitioners, scientists and politicians in the field of veteran trees and dead wood management. The platform gives explanations about sense and importance of old trees and deadwood management, issues examples out of forest practice as well as national and international scientific and technical literature, and supports forest practitioners in the process of decision-making. It provides links to continuative documents, and offers a synthesis of today's knowledge drawn from literature. Link: www.totholz.ch.