Mountain Forests

 

Mountain Forests

Alpine forests provide multiple services that are important for humans. The greatest future challenges are an efficient and future-oriented management of natural disturbances resulting from global climate change, an effective management of wildlife-forest interactions, a wise use of the timber resource and an effective management for non-timber values.

Peter Brang, WSL - Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research


Further Readings & Links
Beispiel
Larch Forest in autumn in the Swiss Alps (Source: L. ULRICH ).

Introduction

The forest cover in the Alps extends to about 75.000 km2, or 43% of the total Alpine area (KELLER & BRASSEL 2001). The Alps are therefore among the areas with the highest forest cover in Europe. These forests provide multiple services which are important for humans, and which can often not be replaced by artificial measures:
  • Their timber is a valuable resource, and they protect against natural hazards such as rockfall, avalanches and erosion and thus enable the human presence in the Alps;
     
  • they reduce peak flows after heavy rainfall and ensure the continuous delivery of drinking water;
     
  • they are valued by tourists for their beauty;
     
  • they provide relatively natural habitats and are therefore important for biodiversity;
     
  • and they play a role in carbon sequestration by their capacity to store carbon in their wood and in the soil.
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"Future in the Alps Workshop"
Workshop on the forestry sector in regional politics: options for a sustainable development in the Alpine area (German and French).