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

  • Unprecedented herbivory threatens rear-edge populations of Betula in southwestern Eurasia
    Morales-Molino, C; Tinner, W; Perea, R; Carrion, JS; Colombaroll, D; Valbuena-Carabana, M; Zafra, E; Gil, L
    ECOLOGY, 10.1002/ecy.2833 
  • What is the potential of silver fir to thrive under warmer and drier climate?
    Vitasse, Y; Bottero, A; Rebetez, M; Conedera, M; Augustin, S; Brang, P; Tinner, W
    EUROPEAN JOURNAL OF FOREST RESEARCH, 138 (4):547-560; 10.1007/s10342-019-01192-4 AUG 2019 
  • Palynological insights into global change impacts on Arctic vegetation, fire, and pollution recorded in Central Greenland ice
    Brugger, SO; Gobet, E; Blunier, T; Morales-Molino, C; Lotter, AF; Fischer, H; Schwikowski, M; Tinner, W
    HOLOCENE, 29 (7):1189-1197; 10.1177/0959683619838039 JUL 2019
  • Pollen from beeswax as a geographical origin indicator of the medieval Evangelistary cover 'Pace di Chiavenna', Northern Italy
    Martinelli, E; Castelletti, L; Oberli, F; Maggioni, C; Tinner, W
    PALYNOLOGY, 43 (3):507-516; 10.1080/01916122.2018.1498399 JUL 3 2019
  • Causes and mechanisms of synchronous succession trajectories in primeval Central European mixed Fagus sylvatica forests
    Rey, F; Gobet, E; Schworer, C; Wey, O; Hafner, A; Tinner, W
    JOURNAL OF ECOLOGY, 107 (3):1392-1408; 10.1111/1365-2745.13121 MAY 2019
  • Fire on ice and frozen trees? Inappropriate radiocarbon dating leads to unrealistic reconstructions
    Finsinger, W; Schworer, C; Heiri, O; Morales-Molino, C; Ribolini, A; Giesecke, T; Haas, JN; Kaltenrieder, P; Magyari, EK; Ravazzi, C; Rubiales, JM; Tinner, W
    NEW PHYTOLOGIST, 222 (2):657-662; 10.1111/nph.15354 APR 2019
  • Responses of vegetation and testate amoeba trait composition to fire disturbances in and around a bog in central European lowlands (northern Poland)
    Marcisz, K; Lamentowicz, M; Galka, M; Colombaroli, D; Adolf, C; Tinner, W
    QUATERNARY SCIENCE REVIEWS, 208 129-139; 10.1016/j.quascirev.2019.02.003 MAR 15 2019
  • Ice cave reveals environmental forcing of long-term Pyrenean tree line dynamics
    Leunda, Maria; Gonzalez-Samperiz, Penelope; Gil-Romera, Graciela; Bartolome, Miguel; Belmonte-Ribas, Anchel; Gomez-Garcia, Daniel;
    Kaltenrieder, Petra; Manuel Rubiales, Juan; Schworer, Christoph; Tinner, Willy; Morales-Molino, Cesar; Sancho, Carlos
    JOURNAL OF ECOLOGY, 107 (2):814-828; 10.1111/1365-2745.13077 MAR 2019
  • Revising the sweet chestnut (Castanea sativa Mill.) refugia history of the last glacial period with extended pollen and macrofossil evidence
    Krebs, Patrik; Pezzatti, Gianni Boris; Beffa, Giorgia; Tinner, Willy; Conedera, Marco
    QUATERNARY SCIENCE REVIEWS, 206 111-128; 10.1016/j.quascirev.2019.01.002 FEB 15 2019
  • Radiocarbon wiggle matching on laminated sediments delivers high-precision chronologies
    Rey, F; Gobet, E; Szidat, S; Lotter, AF; Gilli, A; Hafner, A; Tinner, W
    RADIOCARBON, 61 (1):265-285; 10.1017/RDC.2018.47 FEB 2019
  • Validating a continental European charcoal calibration dataset
    Adolf, Carole; Doyon, Fabienne; Klimmek, Fabian; Tinner, Willy
    HOLOCENE, 28 (10):1642-1652; 10.1177/0959683618782607 OCT 2018
  • Microclimatic gradients provide evidence for a glacial refugium for temperate trees in a sheltered hilly landscape of Northern Italy
    Gubler, Moritz; Henne, Paul D.; Schworer, Christoph; Boltshauser-Kaltenrieder, Petra; Lotter, Andre F.; Bronnimann, Stefan; Tinner, Willy
    JOURNAL OF BIOGEOGRAPHY, 45 (11):2564-2575; 10.1111/jbi.13426 NOV 2018
  • 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. 
  • 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
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