Thijs van den Bergh
Botanisches Institut der Universität Basel, Schönbeinstrasse 6, 4056 Basel (Schweiz)
Tel. +41 (0)61 267 35 07, Fax. +41 (0)61 267 29 80
My current research focusses on hydrological processes in alpine ecosystems and the way that these processes are linked to land use and vegetation change. The background of this study is provided by past and current changes in agriculture that are characterised by both intensification and extensification. These two, seemingly opposing trends, can be observed throughout the alps where, on the easily accessible and most fertile of grounds we witness strong and ongoing intensification while the less accesible and unproductive grounds are more and more often becomming abandoned. This has led to widespread changes in alpine landscapes in terms of vegetation structure and composition: bushes have encroached former pastures leading to a sharp decline in natural diversity. In this project we aim to come to understand and predict the way that these vegetation and land use changes effect evapotranspiration at the landscape scale. Key questions are concerned with the dependence of evaporation and transpiration on climate and vegetation structure, scaling rules for predicting evapotranspiration across time and space and finaly the use of remote sensing for predicting evapotranspiration.