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Tree Stories: New exhibition at WSL

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05.04.2019 | Michèle Kaennel-Dobbertin |  News WSL


What can wood tell us about the past? The Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research WSL is now offering insights with an exhibition at its headquarters in Birmensdorf. One of the world's most important laboratories for tree-ring research is located there.


A Douglas fir trunk cut open in two halves, a 3-ft larch tree disc as well as ancient wood specimens and research tools and instruments form the basis of the new exhibition at WSL. QR codes and an Internet connection allow visitors to immerse themselves in stories, read explanations, see pictures and videos. In the process, visitors get to know the methods of tree-ring research.


Exhibition "Tree stories" opened on 4 April, 2019

Understanding the language of the tree rings opens up a world of discovery - whether about the past climate or the events in the lifetime of a tree.  The science with which this information can be found and understood is tree-ring research or dendrochronology.

The curator Michèle Kaennel Dobbertin explains: "It is exciting to witness past events through the tree rings. One learns something about the first pine forest after the glaciation of Zurich around 13,000 years ago, or accompanies a 700-year-old larch from a young tree to a felled trunk. "


WSL's dendroscience research group was extensively involved in the conception and implementation of the exhibition project. Carpenters and metalworkers from the Uitikon re-education centre worked on the facility. The communication agency Envode designed and implemented the "augmented reality" experience.

At the opening event on April 4, 2019, the participating tree-ring researchers, other WSL employees and production partners experienced the entire installation for the first time. The exhibition is accessible on request as part of guided visits.