Mountain ecosystems evolve only gradually. This is why it is all the more important to have long-term research sites that allow data to be compared over generations. The afforestation research at Stillberg and several facilities above the treeline allow us to conduct this kind of valuable long-term research.
The Stillberg field site above Davos was set up in the 1950s. The mountainside was systematically planted with various tree species in 1975, and ever since has provided information on the long-term impact of various environmental factors on the Alpine treeline. In recent years, our research at Stillberg has increasingly focused on issues surrounding climate change as part of wide-ranging experiments.
We have several research sites at our disposal above the treeline which allow us to examine various issues. On one section of the Swiss sites of GLORIA – an international network of permanent sites in Alpine regions – and on other mountaintops, we study how the mountaintop flora changes over the years. In the Swiss ITEX-field sites run by the SLF, we conduct warming experiments in open-top chambers (OTCs). Meanwhile, at the IMIS weather stations we analyse how vegetation growth correlates with weather and climate data.