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How Close-to-Nature is Forestry in Switzerland? Past and Present Development Andreas Zingg, dipl. Ing. ETH Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research WSL, Birmensdorf, Switzerland.

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Close-to-Nature Forestry in Switzerland History

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How Close-to-Nature is Forestry in Switzerland?Past and Present DevelopmentAndreas Zingg, dipl. Ing. ETHSwiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research WSL, Birmensdorf, Switzerland


How Close-to-Nature is Forestry in Switzerland?Past and Present DevelopmentAndreas Zingg, dipl. Ing. ETHSwiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research WSL, Birmensdorf, Switzerland


How Close-to-Nature is Forestry in Switzerland?Past and Present DevelopmentAndreas Zingg, dipl. Ing. ETHSwiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research WSL, Birmensdorf, Switzerland


Close-to-Nature Forestry in SwitzerlandHistory

1855 Foundation of the Forestry Faculty at the ETH in Zürich

Elias Landolt, the first professor for silviculture, 1895:

”The education of mixed stands is considered in the present time as a rule as long as the soils and the sites are adapted to them; the formation of pure stands is more the exception.”


Close-to-Nature Forestry in SwitzerlandHistory

1855 Foundation of the Forestry Faculty at the ETH in Zürich

Elias Landolt, the first professor for silviculture, 1895:

„The plenter- and femel forests are the closest to the virgin forests untouched by men, as long they are not overharvested …… plentering or the femel cuts may therefore be considered as the most natural treatments of forests.”


Close-to-Nature Forestry in SwitzerlandHistory

1855 Foundation of the Forestry Faculty at the ETH in Zürich

Elias Landolt, the first professor for silviculture, 1895:

„Out of that what was said before, it is absolutely clear, that protection forests have to be treated by the plenter system, and this that way, that they remain capable to resist, but despite of this are able to regenerate. A complete lock out of the axe out of these forests will be with time running as pernicious as a to strong opening up ….”


Close-to-Nature Forestry in SwitzerlandHistory

  • 1855 Foundation of the Forestry Faculty at the ETH in Zürich

  • Elias Landolt, the first professor for silviculture

  • 1880Karl Gayer, Bavaria, Germany

  • Arnold Engler: „Principles for the natural regeneration of the forests”

  • Henri Biolley: „Le jardinage cultural“ [~ The cultural plentering]

  • Hans Burger:


Close-to-Nature Forestry in SwitzerlandHistory

”The concept that the forests regenerate naturally in the future, that they must be mixed and more or less uneven-aged, is now fairly firmly rooted.”

”We must not stamp the forest type on a tree species on a given site, but the exact study of the biological behavior of a tree species on a given site must teach us which forest type we are permitted to apply”

  • 1855 Foundation of the Forestry Faculty at the ETH in Zürich

  • Elias Landolt, the first professor for silviculture

  • 1880Karl Gayer, Bavaria, Germany

  • Arnold Engler: „Principles for the natural regeneration of the forests”

  • Henri Biolley: „Le jardinage cultural“ [~ The cultural plentering]

  • Hans Burger:


Close-to-Nature Forestry in SwitzerlandHistory

  • 1855 Foundation of the Forestry Faculty at the ETH in Zürich

  • Elias Landolt, the first professor for silviculture

  • 1880Karl Gayer, Bavaria, Germany

  • Arnold Engler: „Principles for the natural regeneration of the forests”

  • Henri Biolley: „Le jardinage cultural“ [~ The cultural plentering]

  • Hans Burger:

  • Walter Schädelin: Selection Thinning as an educational management to reach the highest value performance

  • Hans Leibundgut: Femel cut and plentering

  • 1947Hans Leibundgut: About silvicultural planning

  • since ~1950 Literature dealing with Close-to-nature forestry


Swiss Silvicultural Systems

  • Schweizerischer Femelschlag  Swiss Selection Cutting

  • Plentering

    Important detail:Silvicultural planning according to Leibundgut


Forest Legislation

  • The actual forest law from 1992 deals mainly with forest conservation

  • The main management instructions:

    • Sustainability*

    • Close-to-Nature Silviculture*

    • Minimum management measures*

    • Prohibition of Clear-cuts*

      * Not described clearly in the law


Potential Natural Vegetation


Proportion of Coniferous Species


Naturalness of Forests on Sites Naturally Covered by Broadleaves


Actual Silvicultural Practices I

Stand management


Actual Silvicultural Practices II

Regeneration


Actual Silvicultural Practices III

Stand Structures


Plenter Forests IAre Plenter Forest Close-to-Nature?


Plenter Forests IIAre Plenter Forest Close-to-Nature?

Uholka (Ukraine) 10 ha

Sihlwald (Switzerland) 10 ha

Rauchgrat (Switzerland) 3 ha


Mountain Forests in Switzerland

High population density in mountain regionsSwiss Alps: 40 persons per km2 *, Switzerland183, Slovakia 111,Europe115, North America20per km2

Protection against natural hazards

Timber production: Income for communities

Pontresina, Switzerland

* Non productive areas included


Are Swiss Forests Close-to-Nature?

Close-to-Nature means

  • Making use of the local and individual yield potential, i.e. not the rotation time but the best possible use of the individual production forces by local and timely graduation of the regeneration.

  • Harvesting is always also a cultivation measure.

  • Regeneration takes place sustainably and continuously.

  • Mixed stands conform to nature allow a favorable use of the local production forces.

  • Use of the natural renewal processes in long lasting regeneration periods.

  • The type of cutting is not given but takes place according the aims.

    According to Schütz 1999


… and in the Future?

  • Swiss forestry is under economical stress


… and in the Future?

  • Swiss forestry is under economical stress

  • New initiatives

    • to reduce the number of forest enterprises

    • to separate state activity (supervision) and forest management

    • loosen legal restriction, e.g. the prohibition of clearcuts, close-to-nature principles

      etc.


Plantation Forestry: a Goal to Achieve?

The Idea:

Separation of Production Forest and Natural Forest, i.e.

  • Production Forest = Intensive Management, Short Rotation, Management Goal = Timber Production; the other function will be ± not considered any more

  • Natural Forests: In all other forest the other functions ≠ timber production have priority; all between reserves and completely protected forests


Plantation Forestry: a Goal to Achieve?

Where?

  • On good and very good sites

  • Maximum slope 30 %

  •  Mainly on the Swiss Plateau

24.3 % of the forest area

How would this forests look like?

  • Fast growing Douglas fir, Spruce, possibly poplars, in ± pure stands

  • Short rotation times, target diameter ≈ 40 cm

  • Schematic thinning

And the impact on landscape aesthetics?


Less than 10% forest

low

medium

good

very good

Plantation Forestry: a Goal to Achieve?

Site Capacity


Thank you for your attention

We all, who are living on earth, that means utilize to live, are granted the privilege to live from the sources of life. Such a source is the forest. Dare us, if we don’t know how to browse responsibly in the book of the live nature of the forest! Nicolin Bischoff (1987)


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