Forests and society


  • Societal aspects in forest management
    Urban forestry, participation, gender
  • Forest ecology
    Site evaluation, dendrology, forest protection
  • Biodiversity and climate change
    Marginal provenances, adaptation strategies, nature conservation in forests
  • Sustainable forest ecosystem management
    Natural forest management, forestry planning, sustainability monitoring, systems engineering
  • Forest inventory and forest growth
    Inventory map, continuous forest inventory, remote sensing, forest growth simulation model
  • Management tools, information and communication technology
    Decision support, knowledge exchange, data acquisition, software engineering
  • Communication
    Organisation und mediation of events


Prof. Dr Thibault Lachat,  Lecturer in Forest ecology

Prof. Dr Christian Rosset, Team Leader and Lecturer in Sylviculture and Forestry Planning

Romain Angeleri, PhD student

Iris Caillard, Teaching Assistant

Gaspard Dumollard, Research Scientist

Elena Haeler, PhD student

Frédéric HugueninAssistant

Dr Urs Kormann, Research Scientist

Viola SalaAssistant

Anke Schütze, Research Scientist

Martin ValèreResearch Scientist

Dominique WeberResearch Scientist


Current Projects

Saproxylic species in primeval beech forests

Saproxylic beetles and fungi need dead wood for their development and survival. They often serve as ecological indicators of the naturalness of a forest and provide important information about its ecological quality. Together with the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research WSL and the Carpathian Biosphere Reserve, HAFL researchers are investigating the species composition and distribution of saproxylic beetles and fungi in the Ukrainian primeval forest of Uholka-Shyrokyi Luh. This forest is unique in Europe and is considered a reference for central European beech forests in terms of structure, dynamics and biodiversity. Managed forests in its vicinity are used as comparison sites. The data collected is the first of its kind and is enabling assessment of the overall impact of forest management on species composition and ecological quality. This is also allowing conclusions to be drawn as regards the situation in Switzerland. 

Project management:  Thibault Lachat

Project description

Biodiversity and forest structures in the Zurich Wilderness Park Sihlwald

Understand biodiversity patterns and improving conservation measures  requires detailed knowledge of the influencing factors.  In this study, HAFL researchers are investigating the relationship between the biodiversity of various taxonomic groups and forest structures. They have selected four groups of species which depend at least partially on old growth structures or dead wood and are often used as indicators for natural forests: saproxylic beetles, wood inhabiting fungi, mosses, and lichens. This project is the starting point of a long-term monitoring of biodiversity in the Sihlwald forest.  Focussing on dead wood, the team will in particular analyse the effect of habitat amount and connectivity. The Sihlwald, with beech as its dominant tree species, is typical of the Swiss Plateau. The findings of this study will therefore be interesting and important for many other forests in this region.

Project management: Thibault Lachat

Project description

Gender-sensitive forest management in urban areas 

Women are largely missing from forestry education and forestry professions. At the same time, it is important for women to have their needs considered when it comes to designing urban forests and to be involved in regional-level participation processes. The aim of the research project on “Gender-sensitive forest management in urban areas” is to strengthen women’s role in such processes. In a first step, HAFL forest scientists clarify the needs of women in urban spaces and characterise existing gender-specific conflicts. The project outcomes are also to be integrated into forest science teaching at HAFL, thus equipping students with gender competencies from an early stage and giving them an understanding of the significance of socially relevant issues in urban forests. The research project will run to July 2017 as part of a PhD thesis.

Project description


Pesticide use in forests

The Swiss Forest Act generally prohibits the use of pesticides in forests. In exceptional circumstances holders of a special permit may apply pesticides. HAFL has been commissioned by FOEN to coordinate measures associated with the legal provisions and to advise and inform the cantonal forest rangers, forestry services and the public.

Project description

MOTI: Forest inventory made easy – with a smartphone

The project’s main objective is the development of a practical smartphone application for forest inventories. In analogy to a pocket-knife the MOTI App provides a number of tools for measuring dendrometric variables as well as an assistant for preparing, conducting and evaluating inventories of forest management units. MOTI is designed to record in an easy and cost effective manner angle count sampling after Bitterlich as well as the number of trees per hectare, tree height and stock volume.

Project management: Christian Rosset

Project description

Article in InfoHAFL No. 2/2013 (German/French)

Completed projects



Prof. Dr Christian Rosset


Phone +41 (0)31 910 22 59