Transformation rates of Alpine landscapes and surrounding areas: Potential threats and benefits to people and selected species (F. Kienast et al., WSL ZH)

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Landscapes change steadily. But changes do not proceed with the same speed everywhere. During the past century until nowadays, the Swiss Plateau has seen heavy building activities and an increase in farming intensities driven by the upcoming industrialisation and mechanisation. Such developments have, with a certain delay, also reached the Alpine valleys, where traditional farming systems have been drastically reduced, whereas tourist facilities increased heavily in number.
It is the aim of this project to investigate landscape changes and their speed (transformation rate) during the last century in two selected regions, situated between the Swiss plateau and the Alps. Furthermore, we attach importance to the study of the reasons, effects and consequences of the landscape changes reconstructed in these regions. An interdisciplinary team of three Ph.D. students investigates different aspects of the landscape change and finally compiles these results to achieve a new, holistic view. In this context, we investigate the reactions of animal and plant species to changes and transformation rates in a landscape ecological study. The project is part of the National Research Programme 48 'Landscapes and Habitats of the Alps', where different projects are focussed on a sustainable use of the Alpine environment. 

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