Grassland ecology


  • Ecosystems and biodiversity
  • Ecological processes and spatial-temporal vegetation patterns
  • Seed ecology
  • Vegetation monitoring
  • Restoration of dry grasslands and wetlands
  • Management recommendations


PD Dr Andreas Stampfli, Research Scientist

Dr Michaela Zeiter, Research Scientist


Current Projects

SIGNAL – Resilience of grasslands in Europe against extreme drought

HAFL researchers are working together with scientists in eight countries to study the effects of drought periods on biodiversity and ecosystem functions in grasslands in various European regions.

Project management Switzerland: Andreas Stampfli

Project webpage

Invasibility of Swiss grasslands

The research team is undertaking field experiments to study the effects of extreme summer drought, productivity, propagule pressures and origin of plant species on the susceptibility to invasion of twelve hay meadows over a gradient of management intensity in six regions of Switzerland (Jura, Central Plateau, northern Alpine foreland, Central Alps, Southern Alps und southern Alpine foreland). In their analysis the team is particularly interested in identifying factors and interactions which increase the risk of biodiversity decline and ecosystem service degradation.

Project management: Andreas Stampfli

SNF project webpage

Project description

Latest publication: Zeiter M, Preukschas J, Stampfli A (2013) Seed availability in hay meadows: Land-use intensification promotes seed rain but not the persistent seed bank. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment 171, 55-62.

Vegetation dynamics resulting from climate change and land-use change

Since 1988, HAFL grassland ecologists have been studying the causes of fluctuations in species composition and yields in species-rich meadows in a number of different projects. In the Blenio Valley for example they have been recording quantitative vegetation data and data on soil moisture in the Negrentino dry meadow, supplementing the long-range series of observations with specific field experiments. The research focus is on long-term impacts of weather fluctuations and management changes on the ecosystem.

Project management: Andreas Stampfli

Further information: Institute of Plant Sciences, University of Bern

Latest publication: Zeiter M, Stampfli A (2012) Positive diversity-invasibility relationship in species-rich semi-natural grassland at the neighbourhood scale. Annals of Botany 110, 1385-1393.


PD Dr Andreas Stampfli


Phone +41 (0)31 910 21 98