Ecosystem and vegetation responses to climatic change, disturbance and land use

Paleoecology and Vegetation Dynamics

We use a long-term perspective to address questions about the ecological and societal consequences of climatic change. Our group studies environmental dynamics on annual to millennial time scales with evidence preserved in sedimentary sequences (e.g., pollen, macrofossils, charcoal, diatoms, and chironomids) and model simulations. Research projects are investigating the long-term responses of vegetation to climatic changes; causes and consequences of fire-regime changes; land-use changes in a climatic context; and assessing the natural qualities of vegetation for nature conservation and environmental management.


Recent Publications

  • Ice records provide new insights into climatic vulnerability of Central Asian forest and steppe communities
    Brugger, SO; Gobet, E; Sigl, M; Osmont, D; Papina, T; Rudaya, N; Schwikowski, M; Tinner, W
    GLOBAL AND PLANETARY CHANGE, 169 188-201; 10.1016/j.gloplacha.2018.07.010 OCT 2018
  • Implementing microscopic charcoal particles into a global aerosol-climate model
    Gilgen, A; Adolf, C; Brugger, SO; Ickes, L; Schwikowski, M; van Leeuwen, JFN; Tinner, W; Lohmann, U
    ATMOSPHERIC CHEMISTRY AND PHYSICS, 18 (16):11813-11829; 10.5194/acp-18-11813-2018 AUG 20 2018
  • Vegetation and fire dynamics during the last 4000 years in the Caballeros National Park (central Spain)
    Morales-Molino, C; Colombaroli, D; Tinner, W; Perea, R; Valbuena-Carabana, M; Carrion, JS; Gil, L
    REVIEW OF PALAEOBOTANY AND PALYNOLOGY, 253 110-122; 10.1016/j.revpalbo.2018.04.001 JUN 2018
  • A quantitative comparison of microfossil extraction methods from ice cores
    Brugger, SO; Gobet, E; Schanz, FR; Heiri, O; Schworer, C; Sigl, M; Schwikowski, M; Tinner, W
    JOURNAL OF GLACIOLOGY, 64 (245):432-442; JUN 2018
  • The sedimentary and remote-sensing reflection of biomass burning in Europe 
    Adolf, Carole; Wunderle, Stefan; Colombaroli, Daniele; et al. 
    GLOBAL ECOLOGY AND BIOGEOGRAPHY, 27 (2): 199-212 FEB 2018 Article (Details)
  • Land-use history as a guide for forest conservation and management 
    Whitlock, Cathy; Colombaroli, Daniele; Conedera, Marco; et al. 
    CONSERVATION BIOLOGY, 32 (1): 84-97 FEB 2018 Article (Details)
  • An empirical perspective for understanding climate change impacts in Switzerland 
    Henne, Paul D.; Bigalke, Moritz; Buntgen, Ulf; et al. 
    REGIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL CHANGE, 18 (1): 205-221 JAN 2018 Review (Details)
  • Warm Mediterranean mid-Holocene summers inferred from fossil midge assemblages 
    Samartin, Stephanie; Heiri, Oliver; Joos, Fortunat; et al. 
    NATURE GEOSCIENCE, 10 (3): 207-+ MAR 2017 Article (Details)
  • Vegetational and agricultural dynamics at Burgaschisee (Swiss Plateau) recorded for 18,700 years by multi-proxy evidence from partly varved sediments 
    Rey, Fabian; Gobet, Erika; van Leeuwen, Jacqueline F. N.; et al. 
    VEGETATION HISTORY AND ARCHAEOBOTANY, 26 (6): 571-586 NOV 2017 Article (Details)
Willy Tinner Uni Bern

Prof. Dr. Willy Tinner
University of Bern
Institute of Plant Sciences & Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research (OCCR)
3013 Bern

Tel: +41 (0)31 631 49 32

Research topics

  • Mediterranean Ecosystems
  • Forest potentials 
  • Island ecology 
  • Fire effects on tropical African ecosystems 
  • Alaskan Ecosystems
  • Climate-vegetation-land use linkages in Europe



  • Vegetation Ecology and Population Biology 
  • Nature Conservation and Forest Management 
  • Climate Sciences 
  • Archaeology and Archaeobotany
  • Earth and Quaternary Sciences