Forest ecology

Forest ecology

The forest is more than just the sum total of all its trees and more than a producer of raw materials: it is a manifold habitat. Trees and bushes, fungi and lichens all grow here. Apart from game many other animals live in the forest. Nature conservation aims at protecting this variety as well as single species. In addition the forest is also used by us for recreation and relaxation. The interaction and reciprocation between the various elements in the forest eco-system provide the framework for an optimal fulfilment of all forest functions.

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Insects in the forest ecosystem

When naming the most important organisms in forests insects are often forgotten. They do however play a central role in plant reproduction, soil fertility, sustained forest health and diversity. (73)
The raccoon – a rascal with destruction potential

Raccoons have been living in Swiss forests for 30 years. Unlike in central Germany where the animals, originally introduced from America, have in many places become a plague, they are not yet very many in Switzerland. Near Lake Geneva they have become more numerous since 2003 … (65)
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Heavy metals in Swiss forest soils

Scientists determine the soil contamination with heavy metals in 95 selected forest sites in Switzerland. The results show that heavy metal concentrations often exceed government guide levels.

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Climate change threatens Scots pine stands in the Wallis

The main trigger of the Scots pine decline in the Wallis (Switzerland) is the changing climate. At elevations up to 1200 m, the climatic conditions become too warm and too dry for the Scots pine growing in the Wallis. They are about to be replaced by broadleaved trees, in particular by the sessile oak.

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Where trees can no longer grow: the alpine timberline

The growth of trees at high altitudes is not restricted by extreme frosts, but mainly by low temperatures during the vegetation period. The actual climatic warming could therefore lead to an altitudinal rise in the timberline.

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Ozone reduces the growth of poplar

Cheerless expectations for poplar plantations. In particular, the poplar responds with reduced growth rate to elevated ambient ozone concentrations which scientists from the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research (WSL) have now been able to demonstrate.

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Alluvial zones in Switzerland

Alluvial zones represent a transitional area between land and water, where elements of wilderness and natural dynamics can still be observed. Floods and dry periods, erosion and sediment deposition give rise to constant transformations.

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Avalanches Create New Habitats for Plants and Animals

Avalanches not only destroy habitats, but they can also create new ones. A study shows that the biodiversity within avalanche tracks is highly increased compared to the surrounding forest. The more avalanches occur, the more significant the difference becomes.

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Growth Rings in Herbaceous Plant Species and Dwarf-Shrubs

Only a few experts know that dwarf-shrubs and perennial herbs show growth rings. Only little is known about the growth pattern of these plants species and about the wood anatomy.

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The Natural Enemies of Bark Beetles

The biology and the environmental needs of bark beetles are already well known. The knowledge about their antagonistic agents however is limited.

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Heading image: Thomas Reich