Forest plants

Forest plants

The biodiversity of forest flora and the structure of forest stands are the subject of this rubric. They are presented using plant portraits. Plant ecology deals with the interaction of all forest vegetation as well as the relationships between individual plants and their environment.

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Pioneer tree species: ecologically valuable

Pioneer tree species such as goat willow, aspen, silver birch, bird cherry or rowan/mountain ash are the engine of ecological succession in the forest. But why are these tree species so important for the biodiversity of the forest?

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The European White Elm defies Dutch Elm Disease

Of the three native elm species, the European white elm is the only one to resist Dutch elm disease. As a floodplain species, it grows large buttress roots and resembles trees in tropical swamp forests. As elm wood is so rare, its price has also more than doubled in recent years.

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The Sweet Chestnut: A Source of Food and Timber

The sweet chestnut was the German tree of the year in 2018. The Romans brought it here 2000 years ago, and it has provided food and wood ever since. The sweet chestnut is a warmth- and light-loving tree species that today grows primarily in southwestern Germany, in the grape-growing climate.

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European Tree Species Distribution Maps

Did you know that sycamore trees do not grow naturally in Great Britain or in Denmark? Were you aware that the European beech tree can be found on Corsica and Sicily, but not on Sardinia?

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The Queen of the Alps – the Swiss Stone Pine

The five-needled Swiss stone pine is perfectly suited to harsh mountain climates where it braves wind and weather its whole life long. It also has a symbiotic relationship with the nutcracker which disperses its seeds year after year.

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Distribution and occurrence of yew trees in Switzerland

The yew tree population in Switzerland plays an important role in the conservation of this species in western and central Europe. The biggest challenge is protecting young plants from browsing by game.

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Mycorrhiza – a fascinating symbiosis in the forest

Everyone knows about the mushrooms in the forest, but to most people it is unknown as to why the mushrooms grow mostly in the forest and which functions they have. A WSL fact sheet gives insight into the fascinating community of the mycorrhizae.

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Tree rings – a phenological calendar of the past?

Long term phenological observations as well as tree ring time series provide information about past climatic conditions. Unfortunately data gaps in phenological observations cannot be reconstructed or can they?

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The Scots Pine – Tree of the year 2007

The Scot's pine is known in German speaking countries by several different names. The "resin tree" or "pitch tree" are just two names that are reminiscent of past uses.

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The black poplar (Populus nigra)

The black poplar is one of the rarest and most endangered species of tree. The main reason is the eradication of the alluvial areas which are their natural habitats. However, the cultivation of hybrid poplars also contributes to the decline of this tree species which is in danger of extinction.

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Heading image: Thomas Reich