Rita Bütler Sauvain
Citizenship : CH
MissionScientist at WSL (Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research, an Institute of the ETH Board)
Lecturer at EPFL ENAC-ECOS
Since 2005: Scientific collaborator, WSL (Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research)
19972005: Scientific collaborator, EPFL (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Lausanne), Laboratory of Ecosystem Management
1996: Biologist, SFFN (Service des forêts, de la faune et de la nature du canton de Vaud), Lausanne
1991-1992: Lecturer and project leader, VŜST Technical University, Liberec, Czechia
1989-1991: Teacher for natural sciences, KKSS (Kath. Kantonssekundarschule), KSBG (Kantonsschule am Burggraben), St. Gallen and NTB (Interstaatliche Hochschule für Technik), Buchs
2003: Ph.D. degree EPFL, Dead wood in managed forests: how much and how much is enough? Development of a snag-quantification method by remote sensing and GIS and snag targets based on Three-toed woodpeckers' habitat requirements.
2003: Hintermann&Weber research award
1995: Master degree in Environmental Sciences, EPFL
1989: Diploma for teaching of natural sciences - mathematics, PHSG (Pädagogische Hochschule), St. Gallen
1984: Baccalaureate Latin, St. Gallen. Award for best matura.
RESEARCH FOCUSDead wood ecology - roles of dead wood for forest biodiversity
Decay processes of dead trees
Comparison between natural and managed forest ecosystems
Dead tree quantification by remote-sensing techniques
Dead wood, veteran trees, coarse woody debris, quantification methods, forest dynamics, biodiversity management, sustainable forest management, forest ecology, old-growth forests
RESEARCH ACTIVITIESStrategy for the management of dead wood and veteran trees in Swiss forests
The maintenance of biodiversity is a key issue of sustainable forest management in Switzerland. In particular, dead and old trees play in important role for thousands of forest-dwelling species. In managed forests, large dead and very old trees, which are most important for dead-wood dependent species are often lacking. Consequently, in order to be sustainable the Swiss forest management needs a strategy for the maintenance of dead wood and veteran trees. I am searching for answers to questions such as: Which dead wood and old tree management techniques are most suitable for different regions of Switzerland? Are there regions of special concern for the maintenance of dead-wood species?
Maintenance of saproxylic species in Switzerland
Species depending on dead wood and very old trees are called saproxylic species. Many of them are endangered in most parts of central Europe, including Switzerland. The main reason is intensive forest management in production-oriented forests. In addition, dead trees and harvesting remnants are becoming a focus for a rapidly increasing demand for wood energy. A conflict between this renewable energy source and the habitat demand of saproxylic species may be a probable consequence. For these reasons, I am interested in questions such as: How much dead wood would be enough for species depending on this substrate? How should old-growth patches and dead wood be distributed in the forest landscape?
Research in protected forest areas
TOXYWA: Dynamics of dead wood and saproxylic insects in forest reserves
Protected forest areas can give important insights in the functioning of natural forests. Since no harvesting occurs in forest reserves, many aspects of forest dynamics can be monitored and quantified over time. I am particularly interested in the quantitative and qualitative dynamics of dead wood and habitat trees. Other aspects I am concerned with are the decay processes of standing and lying dead trees.
Old-growth forest patches in central Europe: an Interreg-project France-Switzerland in preparation
Old-growth forests are scarce in most parts of central Europe. There is, however, wide agreement on their importance as habitat for many forest-dwelling species. That is why modern biodiversity management techniques include the establishment of old-growth patches within the production forest area. Nevertheless, various questions remain about the possible role of such patches as old-growth surrogate. In a shared research project, France and Switzerland aim to better understand the functioning of old-growth forest patches and to define management guidelines for forest services.
PUBLICATIONSa) Peer-reviewed papers:
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