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Primärsukzessionsprozesse, Bodenbildung, Tourismus und Naturschutz am Beispiel der Gletschervorfelder von Morteratsch und Aletsch (Graubünden/ Wallis, Schweiz)


Burga, C A; Corrodi, D (2011). Primärsukzessionsprozesse, Bodenbildung, Tourismus und Naturschutz am Beispiel der Gletschervorfelder von Morteratsch und Aletsch (Graubünden/ Wallis, Schweiz). Berichte der Reinhold-Tüxen-Gesellschaft, 23:103-118.

Abstract

Today’s pro-glacial areas, which still show the various historical glacier stages of the Morteratsch (GR) and Aletsch (VS) glaciers, lie within the timberline ecotone of the sub-alpine Larch/Swiss stone pine forest. Over the last 12 years, primary plant succession has been monitored with the help of 12 permanent plots, each located in a separate Morteratsch glacier extension, starting with the 1857 extension. Investigations into soil chemistry and physics at the monitoring sites show a decrease in grain size from ca. 80% to ca. 40% of the soil skeleton content and an increase in soil organic matter (C content) from 0.1 kg C m-2 to >1 kg C m-2 going from the older to the younger sites. Grain size, soil-water content and soil stability (safe sites) are crucial parameters for the establishment of pioneer vegetation. Since 1998, the climate has become warmer and dryer and the snow cover thinner. Thus, the growing period has became longer and the plant re-colonization processes on the younger permanent plots has accelerated. Certain individuals of Epilobium fleischeri and some grass species have settled rapidly, especially at those sites that have been ice-free since 2006.
On sunny, summer days, several hundreds of tourists visit the Morteratsch valley and the Morteratsch glacier forefield. Fortunately, no severe environmental impacts have been registered as yet, in contrast to the Aletsch pro-glacial area. Here, a lake biotope (Grünsee) has established itself over the last ca. 80 years on an ice-free area of the Aletsch glacier forefield and, since the construction of a new bridge in 2008, can easily be visited. This has resulted in a new net of footpaths around the lake biotope and, in as little as two years, the vegetation of the biotope is already exhibiting severe erosion. The nature conservation authorities and the tourist office plan to restrict access to the lake, to better inform the visitors and to establish a new picnic area in order to avoid further environmental impacts.

Today’s pro-glacial areas, which still show the various historical glacier stages of the Morteratsch (GR) and Aletsch (VS) glaciers, lie within the timberline ecotone of the sub-alpine Larch/Swiss stone pine forest. Over the last 12 years, primary plant succession has been monitored with the help of 12 permanent plots, each located in a separate Morteratsch glacier extension, starting with the 1857 extension. Investigations into soil chemistry and physics at the monitoring sites show a decrease in grain size from ca. 80% to ca. 40% of the soil skeleton content and an increase in soil organic matter (C content) from 0.1 kg C m-2 to >1 kg C m-2 going from the older to the younger sites. Grain size, soil-water content and soil stability (safe sites) are crucial parameters for the establishment of pioneer vegetation. Since 1998, the climate has become warmer and dryer and the snow cover thinner. Thus, the growing period has became longer and the plant re-colonization processes on the younger permanent plots has accelerated. Certain individuals of Epilobium fleischeri and some grass species have settled rapidly, especially at those sites that have been ice-free since 2006.
On sunny, summer days, several hundreds of tourists visit the Morteratsch valley and the Morteratsch glacier forefield. Fortunately, no severe environmental impacts have been registered as yet, in contrast to the Aletsch pro-glacial area. Here, a lake biotope (Grünsee) has established itself over the last ca. 80 years on an ice-free area of the Aletsch glacier forefield and, since the construction of a new bridge in 2008, can easily be visited. This has resulted in a new net of footpaths around the lake biotope and, in as little as two years, the vegetation of the biotope is already exhibiting severe erosion. The nature conservation authorities and the tourist office plan to restrict access to the lake, to better inform the visitors and to establish a new picnic area in order to avoid further environmental impacts.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography
Dewey Decimal Classification:910 Geography & travel
Language:German
Date:2011
Deposited On:06 Dec 2011 13:17
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 15:08
Publisher:Reinhold-Tüxen-Gesellschaft
ISSN:0940-418X
Additional Information:Jahrestagung der Reinhold-Tüxen-Gesellschaft e.V. vom 01. bis 03. April 2011 in Hannover zum Thema: Landschaft
Related URLs:http://www.reinhold-tuexen-gesellschaft.de/berichte-der-rtg.html (Publisher)
Permanent URL: https://doi.org/10.5167/uzh-51560

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