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This site provides access to result of the PorTree project, a project funded by the FOEN/WSL research programme Forests and Climate Change (Wald & Klimawandel).

The main objectives of the PorTree project were: (1) to calibrate models of habitat suitability for important forest trees in Switzerland and surrounding areas; (2) to do so by fitting models on data that originate from all forest inventories available throughout the European Alps in order to capture the environmental niche of the species more completely; and (3) to project the habitat suitability of these species under climate change to the scale of Switzerland in order to assess the likely effects on the re-distribution of suitable habitats. In addition, we prepared all climate data for the many projects of the research programme.





Many people have contributed to the PorTree project. These are all listed below. During the project, both, Niklaus E. Zimmermann (WSL) and Achilleas Psomas (WSL) have most significantly contributed to the project and have written the reports, generated the website and all maps with updates.

Prof. Dr. Niklaus E. Zimmermann: was originally trained as field botanist at the University of Berne, Switzerland, where he completed his MSc in Geobotany. He carried out a PhD on modelling the spatial distribution of alpine vegetation both at WSL and at the University of Berne between 1993 and 1996. Until 1999 he worked as a postdoctoral fellow at the Utah State University, where he was both working with dynamic forest succession models and with empirical species distribution models. He also contributed significantly with GIS and Remote Sensing methods in several research projects. In 1999 he started a postdoc at WSL. In 2005 he got a permanent position at WSL as a research scientist. From 2006 until 2013 he was the head of the research unit Landscape Dynamics at WSL, and since 2007 he is a member of the WSL board of directors. Since 2014 he is adjunct professor for Macroecology at ETHZ.

He specialized in plant ecology, macroecology, biodiversity research and in assessing global change impacts on species and ecosystems. More recently, he combined evolutionary and phylogenetic analyses with ecological models and analyses in order to solve macroecological questions. GIS, Remote Sensing, and spatial analyses are important assets of his research. He has published >130 ISI papers, has an h-index of 41, and has accumulated >9800 citations in the web of science, with an average citation rate per paper ~80.

Dr. Achilleas Psomas: was originally trained as a forest ecologist at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece. In 2003 he received his MSc in GIS and Remote Sensing from Wageningen University in The Netherlands. After working as GIS and Remote Sensing expert at the Research Station Agroscope Reckenholz-Tänikon (ART) and at the Swiss Federal Institute WSL in Switzerland he started his PhD in remote sensing at the University of Zurich. He received his PhD title in the field of hyperspectral remote sensing in 2008 and after that did a postodoc at the University of Zurich and WSL until the end of 2010. Since 2011 he is working as a support scientist and GIS/remote sensing expert at the research unit Landscape Dynamics at WSL.


The following people have contributed to PorTree: Prof. Dr. Signe Normand, Dr. Dirk R. Schmatz, Dr. Eliane S. Meier, Dr. Matthias Dobbertin†, Prof. Dr. Peter B. Pearman, Dr. Esther Thürig, PD Dr. Janine Bolliger, Prof. Dr. Felix Kienast.





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