Assessing traditional knowledge on forest uses to understand forest ecosystem dynamics

Bürgi, Matthias; Gimmi, Urs; Stuber, Martin (2013). Assessing traditional knowledge on forest uses to understand forest ecosystem dynamics. Forest Ecology and Management, 289, pp. 115-122. Elsevier

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Forest ecosystems worldwide are heavily influenced by human activities. Information on these human activities are key for understanding ecosystem dynamics, especially as some of these human activities have long-term consequences, i.e. legacy effects. We assessed the diversity of forest uses across the Swiss Alps and the respective traditional forest-related knowledge (TFRK) by conducting 56 oral history interviews in five regions. As TFRK tends to be underrepresented in written records, oral history proves to be a very valuable approach. We classified the information gathered in 61 specific forest use practices, characterized by activity, product and use, in order to gain a comprehensive picture of the regional variability but also cross-regional ubiquity of certain forest uses. Based on these results we are able to name the ecologically most relevant forest uses which were most likely, or potentially occurring in Central European forests. We suggest a simple, systematic historical assessment of these relevant forest uses to be applied in all studies on forest ecosystems. This procedure will enable scientists to better evaluate to what degree human activities had an impact on forest ecosystem dynamics in their study area.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


06 Faculty of Humanities > Department of History and Archaeology > Institute of History

UniBE Contributor:

Stuber, Martin


900 History








Martin Stuber

Date Deposited:

02 May 2014 11:17

Last Modified:

22 Feb 2016 15:52


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