Insights about past forest dynamics as a tool for present and future forest management in Switzerland

Conedera, Marco; Colombaroli, Daniele; Tinner, Willy; Krebs, Patrik; Whitlock, Cathy (2017). Insights about past forest dynamics as a tool for present and future forest management in Switzerland. Forest Ecology and Management, 388, pp. 100-112. Elsevier 10.1016/j.foreco.2016.10.027

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Mountain forest ecosystems in central Europe are a product of millennia of land use and climate change, and this historical legacy shapes their vulnerability to projected climate change and related disturbance regimes (e.g. fire, wind throw, insect outbreaks). The transitional and highly dynamic state of present-day forests raises questions about the use of modern ecological observations and modeling approaches to predict their response to future climate change. We draw on records from the different subregions (northern, central and southern Alps and their forelands) in and around the Swiss Alps, which has one of the longest evidence of human land-use in Europe, to illustrate the importance of paleoecological information for guiding forest management and conservation strategies. The records suggest that past land use had different impacts on the abundance and distribution of woody species, depending on their ecology and economic value. Some taxas were disadvantaged by intensified burning and browsing (e.g. . Abies alba, Ulmus, Tilia, Fraxinus, . Pinus cembra and the evergreen . Ilex aquifolium and . Hedera helix); others were selected for food and fiber (e.g. . Castanea sativa, Juglans regia) or increased in abundance as consequence of their utility (charcoal, acorns, litter and other products) or resistance to disturbance (e.g. . Picea abies, . Fagus sylvatica, . Pinus sylvestris, and deciduous . Quercus). Another group of trees increased in distribution as an indirect result of human-caused disturbance (e.g. . Betula, . Alnus viridis, . Juniperus, and . Pinus mugo). Knowledge of past species distribution, abundance and responses under a wide range of climate, land use and disturbance conditions is critical for setting silvicultural priorities to maintain healthy forests in the future

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

10 Strategic Research Centers > Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research (OCCR)
08 Faculty of Science > Department of Biology > Institute of Plant Sciences (IPS) > Palaeoecology
08 Faculty of Science > Department of Biology > Institute of Plant Sciences (IPS)

UniBE Contributor:

Colombaroli, Daniele; Tinner, Willy and Whitlock, Cathy

Subjects:

500 Science > 580 Plants (Botany)

ISSN:

0378-1127

Publisher:

Elsevier

Language:

English

Submitter:

Peter Alfred von Ballmoos-Haas

Date Deposited:

20 Dec 2016 11:45

Last Modified:

27 Oct 2018 02:30

Publisher DOI:

10.1016/j.foreco.2016.10.027

Uncontrolled Keywords:

Fire history, Forest ecology, Holocene, Land use history, Paleoecology, Vegetation history

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.90416

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/90416

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