How cultural traditions and land use affect grassland biodiversity in the Swiss Alps

Grasslands are an important element of the culural landscape of the Alps. Their biodiversity is shaped by the interaction between geological and topographical situation, cultural traditions, and modern impacts on land use. In this research project, within the framework of a Swiss National Research Programm (NFP 48), we will explore biodiversity not only as a product of natural conditions in different regions and different altitudes, but also of different cultural traditions (Romanic, Germanic, and Walser), and assess the impact of changes in land use on biodiversity. We explore grassland biodiversity at all levels of biological integration, including the diversity of plant communities across the landscape, the species level, biological interactions such as pathogen infection and herbivory, and genetic variability within an agriculturally important plant species, Poa alpina.
Caspar David Friedrich
«Der Pilger über dem Nebel» 1818
Taraxacum dominated alpine landscape: Agrobiodiversity at its lowest level
Inquiries PD Dr. Jürg Stöcklin
Co-workers PD Dr. Markus Fischer, Institute of Environmental Science, University of Zürich