Project

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Changes in diversity of Swiss alpine pasture farming since 1880 - a landscape historical assessment (ALPAST)

Applicant Bürgi Matthias
Number 132484
Funding scheme Interdisciplinary projects
Research institution Swiss Federal Research Inst. WSL Direktion
Institution of higher education Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research - WSL
Main discipline Other disciplines of Environmental Sciences
Start/End 01.01.2011 - 31.12.2013
Approved amount 168'948.00
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All Disciplines (3)

Discipline
Other disciplines of Environmental Sciences
Social geography and ecology
Swiss history

Keywords (8)

Land use/Land cover change; Landscape dynamics; Alpine agriculture; Switzerland; Pastureland; agricultural history; environmental history; historical ecology

Lay Summary (English)

Lead
Lay summary
Alpine pasture farming shapes the landscape in the Swiss Alps on more than 5'000km2, i.e., one eighth of the total surface of Switzerland. Alpine pastures are high in cultural, ecological and economic values. Since several decades, they are undergoing rapid changes, mainly due to the integration of alpine agriculture in a global marked for agricultural products. This development leads to the abandonment of pastures in areas which are remote or hard to access. We propose to study the development of alpine pasture farming since 1880 regarding land use, land cover and landscape change. In the study proposed, we will combine methods and approaches from landscape research and from historical sciences in an integrated research framework. We will reconstruct the land use history based on secondary literature and targeted archival research for Switzerland and specifically for six case study regions located in alpine pasture landscapes across Switzerland. For the same areas, we will reconstruct land cover changes based on historical topographic maps. Within the case study regions, aerial and terrestrial photographs, and possibly fieldwork will supplement the data collection. We will then assess the driving forces of land use and land cover change based on a procedure developed in the group of the main applicant (Bürgi et al. 2004, Schneeberger et al. 2007a), to find out, what the main reasons for the changes detected are, and what measures could be taken to counteract unwanted development.With this project we will contribute to the inter- and transdisciplinary research program AlpFUTUR (www.alpfutur.ch), which develops scenarios of future alpine pasture farming in Switzerland.
Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 21.02.2013

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Publications

Publication
Linking ecosystem services with landscape history
Bürgi Matthias, Silbernagel Janet, Wu Jango, Kienast Felix (2015), Linking ecosystem services with landscape history, in Landscape Ecology, 30(1), 11-20.
Die Entstehung der modernen Alpwirtschaft
Bürgi Matthias, Wunderli Rahel, Furrer Benno (2013), Die Entstehung der modernen Alpwirtschaft, in Lauber Stefan et al. (ed.), Eidg. Forschungsanstalt für Wald, Schnee und Landschaft WSL; Zürich-Reckenholz, Forschu, Birmensdorf, 37-53.
Zukunft der Schweizer Alpwirtschaft: Fakten, Analysen und Denkanstösse aus dem Forschungsprogramm AlpFUTUR
Lauber Stefan et al. (ed.) (2013), Zukunft der Schweizer Alpwirtschaft: Fakten, Analysen und Denkanstösse aus dem Forschungsprogramm AlpFUTUR, Eidg. Forschungsanstalt für Wald, Schnee und Landschaft WSL; Forschungsanstalt Ag, Birmensdorf; Zürich-Reckenholz.

Collaboration

Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
Janet Silbernagel, University of Wisconsin, Madison United States of America (North America)
- Publication
Jingle Wu, Arizona State University, Arizona United States of America (North America)
- Publication

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
Rural history 2013 Talk given at a conference Swiss alpine pasture farming since 1880 - a landscape historical assessment 19.08.2013 Bern, Switzerland Bürgi Matthias;
25th PECSRL conference Talk given at a conference Addressing historical changes in Ecosystem Goods and Services 20.08.2012 Leeuwarden & Terschelling, Netherlands Bürgi Matthias;
Landscape ecology and ecosystem services, IALE UK Poster Changes in diversity of Swiss alpine pasture farming since 1880 - a landscape historical assessment (AlpPAST) 06.09.2011 Wolverhampton University, Telford Campus, GB, Great Britain and Northern Ireland Tartaro Pierluigi;


Knowledge transfer events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Date Place Persons involved
Schlusstagung Forschungsprogramm AlpFUTUR Poster 01.10.2013 Schüpfheim, Switzerland Wunderli Götschi Rahel; Bürgi Matthias;


Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
124809 The ecological and socio-economic consequences of land transformation in alpine regions: an interdisciplinary assessment and VALuation of current changes in the Ursern Valley, key region in the Swiss central Alps 01.04.2009 Interdisciplinary projects
64460 Transformation rates of Alpine landscapes and surrounding areas: potential threats and benefits to people and selected species. 01.04.2002 NRP 48 Landscapes and Habitats of the Alps
113351 Vergleichende Geschichte der Berge in der Neuzeit 01.01.2007 Project funding (special)

Abstract

Alpine pasture farming shapes the landscape in the Swiss Alps on more than 5’000km2, i.e., one eighth of the total surface of Switzerland. Alpine pastures are high in cultural, ecological and economic values, but they are undergoing rapid changes, mainly due to the integration of alpine agriculture in a global marked for agricultural products. We propose to study the development of alpine pasture farming since 1880 regarding land use, land cover and landscape change. We are especially interested in finding out how the diversity of alpine pasture landscapes in Switzerland changed in the study period, i.e., if they became more diverse or more homogenous. This interdisciplinary assessment will allow to evaluate the often heard general statement that globalization leads to homogenization at an empirical example. In the study proposed, we will combine methods and approaches from landscape research and from historical sciences in an integrated research framework. We will reconstruct the land use history based on secondary literature and targeted archival research for Switzerland and specifically for six case study regions located in alpine pasture landscapes across Switzerland. For the same areas, we will reconstruct land cover changes based on historical topographic maps. Within the case study regions, aerial and terrestrial photographs, and possibly fieldwork will supplement the data collection. We will then assess the driving forces of land use and land cover change based on a procedure developed in the group of the main applicant (Bürgi et al. 2004, Schneeberger et al. 2007a) and we finally will be able to asses whether land-use and land-cover became more homogenous during the study period. With this project we will contribute to the inter- and transdisciplinary research program AlpFUTUR (www.alpfutur.ch), which develops scenarios of future alpine pasture farming in Switzerland.
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