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Content archived on 2024-04-16

A multidisciplinary cooperative project on alpine forest and mixed grass-/woodlands ecosystems


The objective is to describe and understand the dynamic of alpine ecosystems.

At several sites of the alpine regions, including the Alps, the Jura and the Pyrenees, comparative and complementary investigations will be carried out in the 2 main research areas of the dynamic of alpine forest ecosystems and the multiple use of mixed wood and grasslands ecosystems.

In order to investigate the mechanisms controlling the long term dynamic of forest ecosystems, distinction is made between past trends and future trends. 2 distinct levels of analysis are given priorities as regards the study of past trends:
a landscape ecological approach trends to reconstruct the history of different landscapes, to identify critical stages and to lead to further methodological guidelines for a more dynamic interpretation of current alpine forest landscapes;
and a second approach concentrates on environmental factors which are likely to affect the vitality and capacity of regeneration of tree populations. Seed production has been selected as an appropriate indicator for such constraints. The investigation of potential trends are conducted in 2 directions. Both will concentrate on the processes of natural regeneration, and related environmental factors:
in open areas, in order to assess the role of natural site conditions and anthropogenic factors on the recolonization of abandoned slopes;
and in well established forest ecosystems, study of the gaps, natural or artificial, in order to assess their role in stand generation, as well as the relationships between structure and stability.

In the research into multiple use of mixed grass and woodlands ecosystems, 3 levels of analysis are used:
the landscape ecological approach to identify the different patterns of mixed pasture forest landscape, with regard to animal utilization (wild or domestic ungulates);
silvopastoral systems to define the practical conditions for a sustainable multiple land use on the basis of the analysis of different systems, including experimental treatments;
and tree grass interactions by analysis of the different interactions (through microclimate, soil, water and nutrient budgets, etc) and their impacts on the main components (grasslands and underlayers, animals and trees).


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International Centre for Alpine Environments
EU contribution
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Campus Scientifique du Bourget-du-Lac
73011 Chambéry

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Participants (12)