Soil Carbon in Alpine Grasslands


The productivity of species-rich high-altitude grasslands and soil carbon stocks will evolve in response to the changing climate. Grassland agricultural forage production will thus come under threat, as will the carbon sinks absorbing greenhouse gases. 

The Research Group’s work has already shown how the atmospheric pollutants ozone and nitrogen affect carbon storage in the mountain grassland ecosystem. However, changes in temperature and precipitation are also capable of producing extreme effects and reducing storage of the greenhouse gas CO2 in the soil (see ‘Publications’ below).

In the environs of the municipality of Sent in the Lower Engadine, and as part of the AlpESS Project, we are examining how modern irrigation options and the management approach can contribute to carbon storage. This will allow us to identify the best way to promote greenhouse-gas sinks and boost soil humus stocks.



Related Projects

Futterbau Alpwirtschaft Weide

Alpine Farming, marginal sites

Alpine farming is an integral component of Swiss mountain agriculture. It produces high-quality foodstuffs and maintains an attractive landscape, valuable habitats and vibrant traditions. Many alpine pastures are marginal agricultural sites that must be managed with great care in order to maintain valuable forage ressources for grazing animals and preserve biodiversity.

Futterbau Anpassung Trockenperioden

Adaptation to Dry Spells

Current changes in climate are increasing the risk of drought stress in Switzerland. The deliberate use of certain traits of various grassland plants is a potential adaptive strategy for mitigating the negative effects of these changes. We are investigating which combinations of grassland plants perform well under drought stress, in order to deduce options for the adaptation of permanent and temporary leys to climate change.