Completed projects

Wood ants and ticks: their interdependencies and habitats

Wood ants are a protected species in Switzerland and perform important functions for the forest ecosystem, whereas ticks are regarded as dreaded parasites which can communicate dangerous diseases. The results of a HAFL BSc thesis suggest a correlation between the occurrence of the two species: European red wood ants (Formica polyctena) have a negative influence on the tick (nymph) density of castor bean ticks (Ixodes ricinus). HAFL researchers are verifying this thesis by means of further field surveys. If the relationship between the two arthropods is confirmed, the promotion of wood ants would be a suitable measure for the natural regulation and containment of ticks. The researchers are therefore also analysing the habitat requirements of wood ants in the Swiss Plateau in order to better protect and thus increase the incidence of wood ants.

Project managers: Silvia Zingg

Project description


Google Glass is a quantum leap in miniaturisation, human-machine interaction (HMI) and sensorics. HAFL researchers are running a project to study the potential of GoogleGlass to support foresters in their decision-making on local forestry interventions. To this end they are assessing usage scenarios together with business partners, and are evaluating one subsystem. In addition they are developing specific software applications and are conducting a feasibility study.

Project management: Christian Rosset

Project description

«Swiss Urban NeighbourWoods SUNWoods» - Needs-oriented urban woodland management

Many people visit and make intensive use of peri-urban woodlands. With their SUNWoods project, HAFL researchers are re-orienting urban woodland management towards the needs of the different forest user groups in urban environments. New partnerships between residents and interest groups, town administrations and forest managers will contribute to overcoming existing and potential conflicts in woodlands.

Project description

Article in infoHAFL No. 1/2016 (in German and French) 

SiWaWa: A new-generation forest growth simulation model

HAFL developed a new forest growth simulation tool. Its acronym (SiWaWa) refers to the German “Simulation des Waldwachstums”. Only three input data are needed to simulate stand growth: basal area per ha (G), number of stems per ha (N) and site index (SI) or dominant height (hdom). Conceptually the tool is designed not unlike a calculator. All the functions and graphics are provided in a single and simple user interface. Using the three input data, detailed information on the condition of the stand can be obtained. Applying different user-defined interventions, users can assess the scope of forest management action and appraise the impact of their actions.

Project management: Christian Rosset

FOCUS: Advances in FOrestry Control and AUtomation Systems in Europe

Forestry and the sectors associated with forestry are among the most significant economic sectors in Europe’s rural areas. The lack of integrated control and planning mechanisms is one of the prime obstacles to improving forest-based value chains. In the FOCUS project, researchers are using case studies from Switzerland, Finland, Belgium, Germany, Austria and Portugal to demonstrate how innovative sensor technologies and control methods can solve this problem. The aim is to increase the sustainability, productivity and market viability of the sectors concerned.

Project management: Christian Rosset

Project description

Regenerative capacity in Swiss forests of beech trees originating in the Mediterranean

Given climate change, forestry experts must address the question of appropriate silvicultural strategies. In this context the adaptability of tree species plays a major role. In an experiment in genetic ecology HAFL researchers are testing the establishment and growth of beech trees originating in the Mediterranean compared to native provenances.

Article in InfoHAFL No. 1/2011 (German/French)