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Bio-diversity in alpine forest ecosystem: analysis, protection and management

Contract nr: FAIR-CT96-1949
Project nr: 1949
Project type: SC
Starting date: 01/02/1997
Duration: 39 months (prolongation by 3 months)
Total cost: 1,743,000 EUR
EC Contribution: 1,190,000 EUR
Scientific Officer: Richard HARDWICK
Research topic: Plant health

Alpine forest ecosystems are increasingly threatened by environmental changes, and are affected by forest management and land-use. Genetic diversity plays a major role in the sensitivity, stability and dynamics of ecosystems, because it determines the adaptive potential of species to changing environments. Until now there has been a lack of genetic inventories in alpine ecosystems.

This project addresses bio-diversity in terms of genetic diversity within and between carrier species of alpine forest ecosystems. It will create a novel data pool in order to better understand the function and dynamics of ecosystems and to put results into practice. In this way, our project will also help implement the Strasbourg/ Rio/ Helsinki process in conservation of bio-diversity in forest ecosystems. Our project focuses on significant tree species in highly elevated regions, i.e. habitats which give a high priority to preservation. Examples of species are Abies alba, Larix decidua, Picea abies, Pinus cembra, Pinus mugo. Each species will be studied simultaneously along altitudinal transects up to the timberline at 15 locations throughout the Alps.
Working packages include: (a) Sampling and monitoring: Assessment of diversity within species (inter- and interpopulational) and among species by means of isoenzymes, DNA-markers and metric traits.
Populations are adult stands, natural/artificial regeneration, provenance and other field trials, commercial reproductive material; (b) Analysis and modelling: Quantification of bio-diversity including metric traits and genetic resources, prediction of dynamics with respect to reproduction, response to stress, adaptation and high-risk situations following genetic erosion and inbreeding; (c) Validation and exploitation of results: Novel data systems (ecological base for sustainable development); evaluation methods for genetic resources and genetic certification; genetic criteria for conservation and restoration of high elevated forest ecosystems, sustainable forest management; genetically improved reproductive material for afforestation.

The partnership consists of 11 participants representing various fields in forest genetics, ecology, forestry and private enterprise. Each participant has specific responsibilities throughout the project.
Exploitation addresses end-users of marketable products (genetically improved forest reproductive material) and institutions/organisations/administrations, which are involved in the sustainable management of Alpine ecosystems. A book on Alpine forest ecosystems will summarise the achievements of the project and facilitate its transfer into practice.

Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München
Hohenbachernstraße 22
D-85354 Freising
Tel.: +49 816 171 46 72
Fax: +49 816 171 48 61


  • Thomas GEBUREK
    Forstliche Bundesversuchsanstalt
    Hauptstraße 7
    A-1140 Vienna
    Tel.: +43 187 838 32 23
    Fax: +43 187 838 22 50

  • Raphael KLUMPP
    Universität fuer Bodenkultur
    Peter Jordan Straße 70
    A-1190 Vienna
    Tel.: +43 147 654 40 63
    Fax: +43 147 654 40 69

  • Francois FELBER
    Université de Neuchatel
    Emile Argand 11
    CH-2007 Neuchatel
    Tel.: +41 3 27 18 23 39
    Fax: +41 3 27 18 30 01

  • Christoph SPERISEN
    Eidgenössische Forschungsanstalt fuer Wald, Schnee und Landschaft
    Zürcherstrasse 111
    CH-8903 Birmensdorf
    Tel.: +41 17 39 21 11
    Fax: +41 17 39 22 15

    Lieco-Liechtenstein Forstpflanzenges gmbh.
    Pisching 102 B
    A-8775 Kalwang 31
    Tel.: +43 384 682 62 13
    Fax: +43 384 687 57 22

  • Bruno FADY
    Avenue Vivaldi
    F-84000 Avignon
    Tel.: +33 4 90 13 59 10
    Fax: +33 4 90 13 59 59

  • Monika KONNERT
    Bayerische Landesanstalt fuer Forstliche Saat- und Pflanzenzucht
    Forstamtsplatz 1
    D-83317 Teisendorf
    Tel.: +49 866 698 830
    Fax: +49 866 698 83 30

  • Florian SCHOLZ
    Bundesforschungsanstalt fuer forst und holzwirtschaft
    Sieker Landstraße 2
    D-22927 Grosshansdorf
    Tel.: +49 410 269 61 61
    Fax: +49 410 269 62 00

  • Michele MORGANTE
    Università degli Studi di Udine
    Via delle Scienze 208
    I-33100 Udine
    Tel.: +39 043 255 86 06
    Fax: +39 043 255 86 03

  • Giovanni Giuseppe VENDRAMIN
    CNR - Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche
    Via atto Vannucci 13
    I-50134 Firenze
    Tel.: +39 055 46 10 71
    Fax: +39 055 48 66 04
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