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Regional Environmental Change

, Volume 1, Issue 3–4, pp 99–111 | Cite as

Risks of global warming on montane and subalpine forests in Switzerland – a modeling study

  • J. Bolliger
  • F. Kienast
  • N.E. Zimmermann
Original Article

Abstract.

In this study, we assess the risks of global warming on distributions of individual tree species in Switzerland. Applying a spatially explicit model, tree occurrence is predicted as a function of high resolution and physiologically relevant biophysical variables. The study shows that warming only slightly alters the overall abundance of tree species. However, the preferred temperature regimes are unevenly distributed along an elevational gradient, and the sensitivity to temperature varies considerably between the species. As a result, major reorganizations of forests in montane and subalpine belts are expected, i.e., a segregation of the core distributions of Fagus sylvatica and Picea abies is observed. Tree distribution potentials near timberlines, however, remain roughly the same.

Spatially explicit model Individual tree species Global change Switzerland 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. Bolliger
    • 1
  • F. Kienast
    • 1
  • N.E. Zimmermann
    • 1
  1. 1.Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research (WSL/FNP), Zürcherstrasse 111, 8903 Birmensdorf, Switzerland

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