Matthias Bürgi

Matthias Bürgi
Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research WSL | WSL · Landscape Dynamics Research Unit

About

134
Publications
46,389
Reads
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5,874
Citations
Additional affiliations
January 2001 - present
Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research WSL
Position
  • Head of Research Unit
July 2000 - June 2001
University of Wisconsin–Madison
Position
  • PostDoc Position
November 1999 - December 2000
University of Wisconsin–Madison
Position
  • PostDoc Position

Publications

Publications (134)
Article
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A range of intensifying pressures is making the future of European agriculture dynamic and contested. Insights into these pressures are needed to inform debates about the future of the sector. In this study, we use a foresight approach to identify, quantify and map megatrends. Megatrends are long-term driving forces which are observable today and w...
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Over the past 25 years, the study of driving forces of landscape change has developed into a central theme in land change science by contributing to theory development, promoting the analysis of causation of change and gaining insights into how landscape development could be steered into a societally more desirable direction. Based on this progress...
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There is broad agreement that agriculture has to become more sustainable in order to provide enough affordable, healthy food at minimal environmental and social costs. But what is "more sustainable"? More often than not, different stakeholders have opposing opinions on what a more sustainable future should look like. This normative dimension is rar...
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During the 20th century human activities drastically altered the natural environment at global and local scales by habitat destruction, urbanisation, intensive agriculture, and climate warming. This anthropogenic pressure has modified species distributions and abundances, and led to the increased spread of neophytes. However, the determination of t...
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Um 1850 galt der Rothirsch landesweit praktisch als ausgerottet. Erst ab 1870 setzte eine Wiedereinwanderung und -ausbreitung ein, die bis heute ungebrochen anhält. Naheliegende Gründe für diese Entwicklung sind Veränderungen in den bevorzugten Lebensräumen und im Nahrungsangebot. Matthias Bürgi und Kurt Bollmann von der Eidg. Forschungsanstalt für...
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ContextLandscape archaeology has a lot to offer to landscape ecology, being an interdisciplinary approach that emphasizes the study of long-term human–environment dynamics.Objectives We outline different conceptualizations of landscape in landscape archaeology and illustrate the potential of the approach for collaborating with landscape ecologists...
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Context Landscape ecology early on developed the awareness that central objects of investigation are not stable over time and therefore the historical dimension must be included, or at least considered. Objectives This paper considers the importance of history in landscape ecology in terms of its impact on patterns and processes and proposes to co...
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Context Landscape ecology thinking and social–ecological system (SES) thinking investigate human–environment relationships from the perspective of ‘space’ and ‘system’, respectively. To date, empirical landscape ecology studies attempting to understand SES complexities are rare. Objectives Using the Tibetan pastoral landscape as an empirical examp...
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Landscapes changes are a result of a wide range of interactions between actors and driving forces (DFs). In this study, we quantify the contribution of different types of DFs to processes of land change in the Northern Coast of São Paulo State (NCSP), Brazil, an important region for tourism and the energy sector. We analysed the relationship betwee...
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Context Agricultural land abandonment across the steppe belt of Eurasia has provided an opportunity for the restoration of steppe landscapes in recent decades. However, global food demands are about to revert this trajectory and put restored steppe landscapes at risk. Objectives We analysed steppe development in southern Russia in the last 40 year...
Chapter
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Unsere Wälder sind geprägt durch unterschiedlich häufig stattfindende Störungen. Zu einem grossen Teil bestehen diese Störungen aus menschlichen Nutzungen, die verschiedenen Zwe-cken dienen. Natürlich wachsende Wälder werden weniger häufig gestört und bestehen in ei-nem grösseren Gebiet aus einem Mosaik von Flächen in verschiedenen Entwicklungsphas...
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Context Landscape archaeology has a lot to offer to landscape ecology, being an interdisciplinary approach that emphasizes the study of long-term human-environment dynamics. Objectives We outline different conceptualizations of landscape in landscape archaeology and illustrate the potential of the approach for collaborating with landscape ecologist...
Article
There is widespread consensus among scientists, policy makers, and practitioners that agriculture should become more sustainable, while maintaining the ability to meet future food demand. However, there are still many diverging views on what sustainable intensification means, and how to get there. In this article, we present a conceptual framework...
Article
Waldschäden wegen Dürre von 1864 bis 2018 in der Schweiz und insbesondere im Kanton Zürich Wie sind die Auswirkungen der Sommertrockenheit 2018 auf Wälder und Baumarten in der Schweiz im Vergleich mit ähnlichen Extremereignissen seit 1864 einzuordnen? Zur Beantwortung dieser Frage wurden Meldungen über Waldschäden als Folge von Störungen und über K...
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Central and Eastern Europe has experienced fundamental land use changes since the collapse of socialism around 1990. We analyzeanalyzed the patterns and determinants of agricultural land abandonment and recultivation in Slovakia during the transition from a state-controlled economy to an open-market economy (1986 to 2000) and the subsequent accessi...
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Nationwide citizen science data show the importance of farmland outside protected areas for China’s avifauna. We urge the government of China to develop a national strategy for policy and research to protect biodiversity and traditional knowledge of sustainable agriculture to meet the post-2020 goal of the Convention on Biological Diversity.
Article
Cities and urban regions have become central to ensuring a sustainable future. Many regions employ strategic spatial planning, a transformative and integrative public-sector-led activity, to create a coherent spatial development strategy in order to pursue sustainable development. Due to its encompassing, cross-sectoral qualities, landscape science...
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Landscape researchers tend to reduce the diversity of tangible heritage to physical aspects of cultural landscapes, from the wealth of intangible heritage they focus on land-use practices which have a direct and visible impact on the landscape. We suggest a comprehensive assessment of both tangible and intangible heritage, in order to more accurate...
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By the end of the twentieth century, the forest cover over most of Europe had stabilized or was increasing after many decades of decline. Persistence and change in forest cover are driven by complex human–environmental interactions and feedback loops operating on different temporal and spatial scales. A promising method to detect these complex inte...
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Traditional agricultural landscapes give a distinct character to the European Alps and are considered part of their heritage due to their distinctive natural and sociocultural features. At a workshop jointly organized by the Swiss Interacademic Commission for Alpine Studies (ICAS), the International Scientific Committee on Research in the Alps (ISC...
Article
Ecological restoration is becoming a primary strategy to increase provisions of ecosystem services and reverse biodiversity losses. In cultural landscapes undergoing land use extensification, rewilding has been proposed as a viable approach to reverse biodiversity loss through reducing human impacts. The world's largest ecological restoration campa...
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Landscape change and its drivers have been the focus of a growing body of literature in the past years. Our objective is to present different approaches to studying and understanding landscape change. We sketch the way in which different approaches and existing conceptual models are related to spatial scales and epistemological aims, and discuss co...
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Persistence in landscapes is determined by land cover types that remain unchanged over a certain period of time. Mapping and analyzing landscape persistence brings a new view to landscape-ecological research. Insights on processes, factors, or driving forces stabilizing landscapes can contribute to protect and manage valuable landscapes in a rapidl...
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Bergahornweiden sind eine traditionelle Kulturlandschaft der Alpen, die seitens des Natur- und Landschaftsschutzes bislang wenig beachtet wurde. Die meist alten und mächtigen Bergahorne dieser Weiden sind ausgesprochen reich an Moos- und Flechtenarten, dar-unter auch viele gefährdete Arten. Damit die heute nur mehr kleinflächig vorhandenen Bergahor...
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The spatial distribution of forests in Europe represents the legacy of centuries of human land use decisions. Due to the limited availability of historical data, most studies on forest cover change focus only on analyzing recent decades, thereby overlooking the important long-term context. However, the latter is essential to improve our understandi...
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ContextThe eastern Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau is a cultural landscape where traditional pastoralism substantially shaped the present mosaic structure of the alpine grasslands. During the past two decades, however, severe grassland degradations of this region has been considered as the major ecological concern. Objectives In this study we took an inter...
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Context Cultural landscapes evolve over time. However, the rate and direction of change might not be in line with societal needs and more information on the forces driving these changes are therefore needed. Objectives Filling the gap between single case studies and meta-analyses, we present a comparative study of landscape changes and their drivin...
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Context The design of effective responses to safeguard cultural landscape values in Europe needs collaborative action among the stakeholders involved. Despite considerable progress triggered by the European Landscape Convention (ELC) and other initiatives to link landscape science, policy and practice, a joint research–action agenda is still lackin...
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Recently, the integrated landscape approach has gained increasing interest of the scientific community, as well as of organizations active in the field of sustainable development. However, the enthusiastic welcome is challenged by little consensus on theory, terminology and definitions. Moreover, the operationalization of the approach into practice...
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A global understanding of landscape dynamics, through local case studies, is a prime topic in land change science. Consequently, this approach should be urgently applied to changing and heavily transformed environments, such as coastal areas. The aim of this work is to study landscape changes, comparatively, by focusing on three coastal sedimentary...
Article
In the valleys of the southernmost canton of Switzerland there are numerous charcoal production sites (CPS) where, in the past, charcoal burners produced wood charcoal which was mainly exported to the urban centres of Lombardy. Through a complete field survey in three study areas totaling 16.4 km2, 1070 sites were mapped, inventoried and their posi...
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Today, most ecosystems show some degree of human modification, ranging from subtle influences to complete remodeling and reshaping into anthropogenic ecosystems. In the first issue of the journal Ecosystems, the field of historical ecology, which focuses on the historical development of ecosystems, was prominently positioned with the papers of Fost...
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Over the past decades, landscapes worldwide have experienced changes (e.g., urbanization, agricultural intensification, expansion of renewable energy uses) at magnitudes that put their sustainability at risk. The understanding of the drivers of these landscape changes remains challenging, partly because landscape research is spread across many doma...
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p class="p1">La selva baja caducifolia es un ecosistema que está presentando grandes cambios. A pesar que a nivel global se han estudiado las fuerzas conductoras del cambio de uso de suelo, a escala local las dinámicas espacio-temporales son ampliamente desconocidas. El objetivo principal de este estudio fue identificar las fuerzas conductoras de l...
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A trend of forest area expansion after decades of decline is taking place in many countries around the globe. In Switzerland, forest cover has been expanding since at least the mid-nineteenth century. However, little is known about the patterns of forest area dynamics on a long-term, national scale, nor regarding the precise time of forest transiti...
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Context Century-long interaction between societies and their environment has shaped the cultural landscapes across Europe. Specific farming systems have persisted for long periods, and their abandonment has led to far-reaching and rapid changes in patterns of land use and land cover. Objective Taking the example of the municipality of Limpach, loca...
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In recent years, the term biocultural diversity has been promoted to raise awareness for the interrelationship between culture and biodiversity. Whereas the term is hard to conceptualize in general, specific links between culture and biodiversity can be explored. In this paper, we focus on land use, which is on one hand culturally coined, and has o...
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Because of the slow accumulation and long residence time of carbon in biomass and soils, the present state and future dynamics of temperate forests are influenced by management that took place centuries to millennia ago. Humans have exploited the forests of Europe for fuel, construction materials and fodder for the entire Holocene. In recent centur...
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Landscapes are closely linked to human well-being, but they are undergoing rapid and fundamental change. Understanding the societal transformation underlying these landscape changes, as well as the ecological and societal outcomes of landscape transformations across scales are prime areas for landscape research. We review and synthesize findings fr...
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European forest use for fuel, timber and food dates back to pre-Roman times. Century-scale ecological processes and their legacy effects require accounting for forest management when studying today's forest carbon sink. Forest management reconstructions that are used to drive land surface models are one way to quantify the impact of both historical...
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The concept of ecosystem services (ES) has become widely used because it bridges ecology and economics and links nature to society. ES may evolve over time in dynamic landscapes driven by myriad processes. However, the consequences of changes in key ES has not been considered adequately in current ES research. Here we propose a framework for linkin...
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The forests in the Canton of Zurich around 1823 – forest types and tree species Based on early forest management plans from 1823, this paper analyses forest management practices and tree species composition in the public forests of the Canton of Zurich in the early 19th century. Forest type distribution across the canton is reconstructed and detail...
Article
This book brings together information about Europe's forests and how they have developed since the last Ice Age. The first part (Chapters 1-4) gives an overview of Europe's woods and forests in space and over time; the second part (Chapters 5-9) looks at how they have been managed; the third part (Chapters 10-15) deals with how plants and animals h...
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Forest decline played a pivotal role in motivating Europe's political focus on sustainability around 35 years ago. Silver fir (Abies alba) exhibited a particularly severe dieback in the mid-1970s, but disentangling biotic from abiotic drivers remained challenging because both spatial and temporal data were lacking. Here, we analyze 14 136 samples f...
Chapter
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During the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, forest use and management in Switzerland underwent radical changes (Bürgi 1999). Before this period, traditional forest uses, such as woodland pasturing, wood hay and litter collection and even crop production on temporary fields in the forest were a common practice throughout the country. In the late...
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Globally, forest soils contain twice as much carbon as forest vegetation. Consequently, natural and anthropogenic disturbances affecting car-bon accumulation in forest soils can alter regional to global carbon balance. In this study, we evaluate the effects of historic litter raking on soil carbon stocks, a former forest use which used to be widesp...
Article
a b s t r a c t Forest ecosystems worldwide are heavily influenced by human activities. Information on these human activities are key for understanding ecosystem dynamics, especially as some of these human activities have long-term consequences, i.e. legacy effects. We assessed the diversity of forest uses across the Swiss Alps and the respective t...
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Forest fire regimes are sensitive to alterations of climate, fuel load, and ignition sources. We investigated the impact of human activities and climate on fire occur-rence in a dry continental valley of the Swiss Alps (Valais) by relating fire occurrence to population and road density, biomass removal by livestock grazing and wood harvest, tempera...
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Calcareous grasslands in Central Europe harbour a high diversity of plant and animal species. However, as man-made habitats, they need to be managed in order to maintain high species diversity. Conservation efforts often aim at reintroducing historical management regimes, such as regular grazing or mowing. Despite such efforts, the diversity and nu...