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Influence of droughts on regeneration, vegetation change and ecosystem functioning

English title Influence of droughts on regeneration, vegetation change and ecosystem functioning
Applicant Stampfli Andreas
Number 112639
Funding scheme Project funding
Research institution Institut für Pflanzenwissenschaften Universität Bern
Institution of higher education University of Berne - BE
Main discipline Ecology
Start/End 01.04.2006 - 30.09.2009
Approved amount 187'605.00
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Keywords (10)

biodiversity; climate change; extreme drought; meadow; plant functional types; regenerative strategy; recruitment limitation; resilience; resistance; seedling establishment

Lay Summary (English)

Lay summary
The scope of this proposal is to complete a field experiment started in 2004, and to explain observed vegetation dynamics after recent extreme summer droughts in the Southern Alps.In the field experiment, rainfall was manipulated by automated equipment (rain shelter and irrigation) to realistically simulate extreme droughts in summer/autumn and spring. The aim of the experiment is to firmly establish our concept, based on circumstantial observational evidence, that occasional droughts and particular conditions for establishment from seed are key aspects for an understanding of species coexistence, community structure and ecosystem functioning. Three main hypotheses will be tested:(1) Seasonality of droughts affects the outcome of regenerative succession after drought(2) Dry meadows show high resistance to drought and low resilience after drought(3) Drought and seed limitation affect productivityThe experiment had a successful start in 2004/2005. Well-working technical instruments have created (and measured) the conditions aimed at for this study. Data sampling periods had a correct timing and sampling was completed for a whole community based on totally 11'200 small quadrats. Frequency was sampled separately for established and newly regenerated populations, in July before (2004) and after drought treatments (2005, 2006, 2007), seedlings were also checked in additional periods (October 2004, April 2005, October 2005, April 2006, April 2007).In the context of global climate change research, our project addresses highly relevant questions dealing with impacts on ecosystems. With our population-based approach under field conditions we hope to make a substantial complementary contribution to Swiss research in the framework of the Swiss NCCR Climate.For further information see
Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 21.02.2013

Responsible applicant and co-applicants


Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
100612 Influence of droughts on regeneration and vegetation change 01.04.2003 Project funding
127246 Invasibility of Swiss Grasslands 01.01.2010 Project funding
185110 Change in grassland functional composition via resource shifts driven by climate extremes 01.07.2019 Project funding