Professional development and functions

Since 2021 Head of Climate Change, Extremes and Natural Hazards of Alpine Regions Research Centre CERC at the WSL-Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research SLF in Davos
Since 2010 Head of the research group Mountain Ecosystems  of the Research Units Community Ecology (before July 2021) and Alpine Environment and Natural Hazards (after July 2021), Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research WSL and SLF Davos.
2006-2010 Head of research group Mountain Forest and Treeline Ecotones, WSL and SLF Davos
2001-2006 Scientfic collaborator in the research unit Mountain Environment, Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research WSL and SLF Davos, project leader in the National Research Program NRP48 of the Swiss National Science Foundation SNF.
2000 - 2001 Postdoc at the Department of Geography, Biogeography Lab, University of Colorado and the Institute of Arctic, Antarctic and Alpine Research, INSTAAR in Boulder (CO), USA; Topic: "Natural disturbances (fire, spruce-beetle, windthrow) and disturbance interactions in subalpine forest landscapes of the Rocky Mountains" with a mobility grant of the Swiss Science National Foundation SNF.
1996-1999 PhD- thesis at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology ETH Zurich and at the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research WSL in Birmensdorf, PhD-topic: Structures in mountain forests as a basis for assessing selected forest functions;  ETH medal for outstanding PhD-thesis
1992-1995, 1999 Internships and scientific appointments at the Swiss National Park SNP (Zernez), at SLF (Davos) and at ILU Alpin (Engineering & Environmental Office, Samaden).
1994 Diploma in Environmental Science, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology ETH in Zürich


Research areas

My work aims to contribute to solving current and future problems in mountain regions. I like working interdisciplinary and collaborating with practitioners. My main research fields are:


Research profile on Google Scholar and Web of Science


Additional functions and memberships

  • Lecturer at Swiss Federal Institute of Technology ETH Zürich: Mountain Forest Ecology - field course (since 2004), Natural Hazard Management (since 2022) Growth of trees and forests - from germination to tree death (guest-lecturer since 2018)
  • Board Member of the Swiss Mountain Forest Management Group (GWG)
  • Member of the research plattform SwissForestLab and the research programs Climate Change Impacts on Alpine Mass Movements CCAMM and EXtremes
  • Board member of the Schweizerische Alpine Mittelschule (SAMD, regional high school) in Davos
  • Deputy Coordinator of Unit 8.01.00 Natural Hazards and Risk Management at IUFRO (International Union of Forest Research Organizations)
  • Member of the Swiss Forestry Association (SFV) and the Natural Hazard Experts Network (FAN)

Supervision of postdocs, doctoral candidates and students

An important part of my work is to supervise students and young researchers and to develop and support them with a view to their later work.

Previous postdocs:

Corinne Lundström, 2003-2005, Land use modeling in Alpine regions. Funded by the NRP48 project Alpscape of the SNSF.

Dominik Kulakowski, 2006-2007, Influence of avalanches on forest ecosystems, funded by the Velux Foundation.

Momchil Panayotov, 2008-2010, (and guest scientist at the SLF 2013-2015) Dendroecological studies on the dynamics of subalpine forests in Bulgaria and Switzerland, funded by the Velux Foundation and the SNSF

Ignacio Barbeito, 2010-2011, Spatio-temporal analyses of growth and mortality at the Stillberg experimental site (own funding)

Alejandro Casteller, 2013-2016, Ecosystem-based risk reduction in the context of avalanches in Chile, funded by the EPIC project of the Federal Office BMUV, Germany

Advised PhD-students:

Anja Rammig, 2002-2006, Disturbance in mountain forests: analysing, modelling and understanding successional processes after blowdown events, together with Prof. Dr. H Bugmann (ETH), funded by FOEN.

Ariane Walz, 2002-2005, Land-use modeling in the Swiss Alps, with Prof. Dr. R. Weibel and Prof. Dr. R. Purves (UniZh), funded by NRP48 Alpscapes.

Gillian Rutherford, 2002-2006, Land-use statistics for successional processes, with Prof. Dr. P. Edwards (ETH) and Prof. Dr. N. Zimmermann (WSL), funded by NRP48 WaSAlp.

Sonja Wipf, 2003-2006, Winter Climate Change in Tundra Ecosystems, with Prof. Dr. B. Schmid and Dr. V. Stöckli (WSL)

Adrienne Grêt-Regamey, 2002-2007, Spatially explicit valuation of ecosystem goods and services in the Alps as a support tool for regional decision-making, with Prof. Dr. W. Schmid (ETH), funded by SNSF.

Frank Krumm, 2008-2012, Stand development of Norway spruce dominated subalpine forests of the Swiss Alps, with Prof. Dr. H. Spiecker (Uni Fr. i Pr.) and PD. Dr. A. Risch (WSL), financed by the Velux Foundation.

Simon Briner, 2010-2012, Trade-offs between Ecosystem Services in mountain regions, with Prof. Dr. B. Lehmann and Dr. R. Huber (ETH), funded by CCESS, ETH.

Michaela Teich, 2010-2013, Snow avalanches in forested terrain, with Prof. Dr. A. Grêt-Regamey (ETH), funded by CCESS, ETH.

Natalie Zurbriggen, 2010-2013, Avalanche disturbance and regeneration in mountain forests under global change, with Dr. H. Lischke (WSL) and Prof. Dr. H. Bugmann (ETH), funded by CCESS, ETH.

Thomas Feistl, 2014-2016, Vegetation effects on avalanche dynamics, with Dr. P. Bartelt (WSL) and Prof. Dr. T. Kurosch (TU Munich), funded by Bayerisches Landesamt für Umwelt

Ana Stritih, 2017-2021, Risk-based assessments of ecosystem services: Addressing uncertainty in mountain forest management, with Prof. Dr. A. Grêt-Regamey (ETH Zurich), funded by EU- Horizon 2020, ECOPOTENTIAL.

Natálie Piazza-Brožová, 2018-2022, Avalanche protection capacity and disturbance dynamics of mountain forests , with Prof. Dr. A. Rigling (ETH Zurich), funded by WSL program CCAMM, Präventionsstiftung der kantonalen Gebäudeversicherungen and SwissForestLab.

Adrian Ringenbach, 2018-2022, Experimental quantification of deadwood influence on rockfall dynamics and its incorporation into regional-scale rockfall models, with Dr. A. Caviezel (WSL) and Prof. Dr. A. Rigling (ETH Zurich), funded by SNSF (DIVES) and WSL program CCAMM.


Supervised Diploma- und master's theses: Corina Lardelli (2003), Gesa Horak (2004), Frank Krumm (2004), Sebastian Essig (2004), Martina Forster (2006), Michaela Teich (2006), Grégory Amos (2007), Clothilde Gollut (2008), Melanie Ulrich (2009), Reto Tiri (2009), Jean-Marie Putallaz (2010), Veronica Netzer (2010), Marius Fankhauser (2010), Men Dellagiovanna (2011), Claudia Brüllhardt (2011), Regina Brücker (2011), Jonas Schwaab (2012), Lisa Leibold (2012), Roland Mende (2012), Lisa Erdle (2013), Christine Moos (2014), Sergio Wicki (2014), Thomas Häfelfinger (2015), Eva Bianchi (2015), Julia Issler (2016), Laura Ramstein (2016), Adrian Zaugg (2016), Simon Blatter (2016), Verena Eichenberger (2016), Roger Morgenthaler (2016), Gianna Könz (2017), Valentina Berchier (2017), Natálie Brožová, (2017), Kevin Simmler (2017), Vivien Cros (2017), Martin Kistler (2018), Mirjam Marty (2019), Tobias Ott (2019), Mario Guetg (2020), Luca Zehnder (2020), Elia Stihl (2020), Marion Caduff (2021)