Paper "Changes of forest cover and disturbance regimes in the mountain forests of the Alps" published in Forest Ecology and Management
In the paper "Changes of forest cover and disturbance regimes in the mountain forests of the Alps" we provide an overview and synthesis on the changes in forest cover and disturbances in the European Alps. During pre-industrial times, natural disturbances were reduced by fire suppression and land-use, which included extraction of large amounts of biomass that decreased total forest cover. More recently, forest cover has increased again across the entire Alps (on average +4% per decade over the past 25–115 years).
Disturbance regimes differ distinctly across the Alps, particularly regarding fire occurence and size. For fire, the Alps form a clear divide between Mediterranean conditions (south of the Alps) and temperate conditions (north of the Alps).
An increase in growing stock and expanding forest areas since the mid-19th century have - along with climatic changes - contributed to an increasing frequency and size of disturbances in the Alps. Although many areas remain intensively managed, the extent, structure, and dynamics of the forests of the Alps reflect natural drivers more strongly today than at any time in the past millennium.