WSL, Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research

WSL, Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research

WSL, Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research   link
Location: Davos
Zürcherstrasse 111, 8903 Birmensdorf

Category: Environment, Physics

The Swiss Federal Institute for Forest Snow and Landscape Research WSL focusses on the use and protection of landscapes and habitats. Being a part of the ETH domain, the particular function of the research institute is to act as a bridge between pure theoretical science and the practical implementation of scientific findings. WSL research aims at finding ways to sustainably manage landscapes and forests for maximum benefit to people’s quality of life and to handle the natural hazards that typically occur in mountainous countries in the best possible ways for maximum protection at affordable costs. WSL research maintains an international top position and provides the fundamental knowledge for sustainable environmental policies in Switzerland.


Snow or plant

Computer Science

Machine learning helps researchers to use weather stations to investigate the consequences of climate change for the growth of alpine vegetation. This text was automatically translated. Six days earlier than in 1998, on June 14 instead of June 20, plants begin to grow on average at higher altitudes in the Alps.

Better archiving of genetic data

Environment - Life Sciences

Every year, researchers upload vast amounts of genetic information to publicly accessible databases. An international team of researchers led by the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research WSL is calling in the scientific Journal "Nature Ecology & Evolution" for this to be done in a standardised form, in order to enable comprehensive reuse of the data.

Where amphibians feel at home

Environment - Earth Sciences

Number, size, surroundings and water level: for the first time, there are quantitative scientific recommendations when it comes to the development of new ecological infrastructures for amphibian conservation. A team of researchers from Eawag, WSL and info fauna karch has analysed the optimal conditions for life between water and land.

Environment - Apr 17

Understanding carbon release from the tundra

The warming climate shifts the dynamics of tundra environments and makes them release trapped carbon, according to a new study published in Nature. These changes could transform tundras from carbon sinks into a carbon source, exacerbating the effects of climate change.

Global warming is sinking meteorites

Environment - Earth Sciences

More than 300,000 meteorites lie on the Antarctic ice. They contain an unprecedented wealth of information about our solar system. With every tenth of a degree of global warming, thousands of meteorites sink. Researchers from WSL and ETH recommend that their collection be promoted.

Environment - Mar 22

Researching the spread of drought


It is important for water management to understand how drought spreads. In a new study, researchers from the WSL Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research SLF show that in every third case, atmospheric drought is followed by low water levels. More rarely does drought have a negative impact on groundwater.

Environment - Mar 14

Impact of climate change on biodiversity


Ecological communities in rivers and lakes are responding to climate change in a similar way to communities on land. This is shown by the first comprehensive comparison of freshwater and terrestrial ecosystems around the globe, co-led by Eawag and WSL. When temperatures rise, warm-loving species are the main beneficiaries. One surprising exception may be the plankton.

Environment - Feb 15

Advancing forest monitoring


Forests are under pressure and rapidly changing. In order to be able to react to these changes, forest monitoring is of crucial importance.

Erosion promotes species diversity

Environment - Earth Sciences

Madagascar is home to over 11,000 plant species, 80 percent of which are found nowhere else on Earth. A recent study by the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research WSL and ETH Zurich has put forward a new hypothesis for the underlying cause of Madagascar's rich plant biodiversity, which has been regarded as an unsolved mystery of natural history.

Reaction of trees to heat unravelled

Environment - Chemistry

At temperatures above 30°C, water loss through transpiration increases in trees, while CO2 uptake decreases - even when there is enough CO2 in the atmosphere.

Cost-cutting measures at WSL

The reduced growth rates envisaged in the 2025-2028 ERI Dispatch require drastic cost-cutting measures at WSL. These will not come without losses in research and services.

Environment - Apr 11

Social costs of energy systems


Developing wind and solar infrastructure in the landscape can be tricky and often associated with resistance to arise among the population.

Environment - Mar 26

WSL Strategy 2035


The Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research WSL presents its 2035 research strategy. In times of climate change, biodiversity loss and urbanization, WSL has set itself the goal of being an important player in overcoming future challenges.

Environment - Mar 18

Biodiversity at forest edges


Forests contain a lot of biodiversity and provide many ecosystem services such as carbon storage, wood production, and cooling.

Environment - Mar 13

How landscape conservation protects against fires


Climate change influences how often and how intensively forests in Switzerland could burn in the future. However, changes in land-use play a major role therein. Forest fire specialists at the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow, and Landscape Research WSL in Cadenazzo have demonstrated this interplay in a new study.

Power dynamics in nature conservation

The "SCNAT knowledge" web portal provides guidance. The Swiss Academy of Sciences (SCNAT) and its network report the state of knowledge, based on sound scientific findings and in regards to Switzerland - for the attention of politics, administration, business, science and practice.

Robot swings into treetops

It abseils down from a height and swings around obstacles: Robot Avocado will one day maneuver through the canopy of the rainforest and collect data for researchers about this difficult-to-access habitat.

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