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Forests and climate change

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With climate change, some tree species will gain and others will lose. Our research assesses the consequences for forestry, population and forest ecosystems and develops solutions for dealing with the changes. 

 

Climate change is progressing much faster in the Alpine region than in other regions (see "Focus: Switzerland and climate change"). A number of tree species will no longer thrive optimally in their current locations, including the economically important spruce and possibly also the beech, our most common deciduous tree species. This has consequences for the yield and yield of wood, the protective effect of the forest against natural hazards, biodiversity and also the landscape. There is a considerable risk that the forest will be less able to provide important services for humans with climate change.

Forests of the future

In our research, we develop approaches to help foresters and forest owners adapt their forest management to future conditions as of now. We are testing which tree species will grow well where in the future with extensive tests on over 50 experimental plots throughout Switzerland, which will run until at least 2050. To assess the impacts of climate change, we are investigating the responses of trees and other forest organisms such as pests and tree diseases at scales from the landscape down to the plant cell. Our long-term monitoring data enable model calculations on how the forest will change with climate change.

Drought stress in the south

The dry and warm Valais is somewhat of an early warning region for climate change in Switzerland. In the Pfynwald near Leuk (VS), we have been irrigating entire forest areas for years to find out how the trees react to natural drought. In Ticino, we are investigating how forest fires affect forests and their function as protective forests. In our experimental afforestation at Stillberg near Davos, we are researching how the forest limit changes under the influence of various environmental factors.

 

Related topics

Experimental plantations of tree species adapted to future climates

On more than 50 test plots, we are investigating which tree species and provenances will grow well in the Swiss forest in 50 to 100 years from now.

Long-term irrigation experiment Pfynwald

In order to understand the influence of drought on tree growth, we have been studying pine trees in an irrigation experiment in Valais since 2003.

Treenet

Automatically measured fluctuations of tree stem radius provide information about growth and drought stress.

FORTE app

The FORTE app describes both the current state of the Swiss forest (FORTE) and its long-term development (FORTE Future).

MODOEK - Model Ecosystem Facility

The facility with 16 glass chambers allows experiments with forest trees under controlled conditions.

Long-term study at Stillberg

Which environmental factors influence the growth and survival of trees at the tree line? The long-term research at Stillberg has enabled us to answer...

 

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