Current function at WSL

Project leader in the RU „Forest Soils and Biogeochemistry

Research interests in keywords

Ecological niches of plant species in forests, tree species distribution, ecological indicator values, forest site ecology, water regime of trees and forest stands, digital soil mapping

Professional experience

In 1993, I had the unique opportunity to start at WSL with a forest soil inventory (WZI 1993) on a 8x8 km grid covering the whole forested area of Switzerland. Thereby I got a good overview of the Swiss forest soils.

From 1994 to 2003 I was responsible for the monitoring of the soil matrix on 16 level II plots in the framework of the Long-term Forest Ecosystem Research Programme (LWF). Here I got acquainted with the monitoring standards of UN/ECE ICP-Forests and strengthened my knowledge in soil analysis and data quality control.

Between 1999 and 2006 I was involved as one of five authors in the book project “Waldböden der Schweiz”. In three volumes we comprehensively described 95 Swiss forest soils for a broader public. This included the presentation of a large set of soil properties and their interpretation in terms of ecology and forest management.

The dynamic Web-application „Ecological indicator values of Swiss forest plant species“ is a pilot study at the soil-plant interface. Based on measured data, the application presents ecological indicator values for a large number of common Swiss forest plant species.

Over the last years the RU “Forest Soils and Biogeochemistry” has established a forest site database with data from currently about 1200 forest stands all over Switzerland. The database holds information on morphological, chemical and physical soil properties as well as on vegetation (abundances) and soil forming factors.

Motivation and research focus

I am interested in forest site ecology at the soil-plant interface, especially the response of forest plant species to measured environmental variables.

Ongoing climate change requires a deepened understanding of the water balance of forest stands and the water use strategy of tree species. Therefore, we assess water related data with high temporal resolution for spruce, pine, beech and oak in about 40 forest stands across Switzerland since 2013.

Another focus is forest soil protection. Here we try to generate regional and national maps of important soil properties and soil functions by using digital soil mapping (GIS-technology and (geo)statistics).


10.1987 - 03.1993 ETH-Zürich
- Studies of forestry (Dipl. Forst-Ing. ETH)
- Including 3 internships in Switzerland and Madagascar
- Diploma thesis: ¨Ecology and regeneration of pine rich forests in Brienz-Wiesen (GR)”
05.1993 Training course in forest site mapping (University of Berne)
06.2000 - 04.2001 Office-Supporter SIZ
10.2003 - 09.2004 Webpublisher SIZ

Expert activities

  • Soil Expert Panel (ICP-Forests)
  • Modelling the water regime of forest stands (Futmon)