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Report trees growing at highest altitudes in Switzerland

This is where a champion thrives: Unnoticed by chamois, this mite of 11 cm height, growths in a crevice at an altitude of 2765 m a.s.l.

Trees growing at highest altitudes in Switzerland

Distribution and frequency of native tree species are a main topic of the NFI. But a sample plot inventory is not suitable to record extreme values. Also, information in the literature about locations at high altitudes is scarce at best; and even then, coordinates and photos are missing, thus the location can not be verified.

Report your sightings

We need your help finding and recording trees and shrubs (woody species) growing at the highest altitudes in Switzerland. Please add your sightings to our public logbook using our sightings form.

Rules

The minimal height of a tree or shrub has to be 10 cm measured plumb-vertical in order to be counted as a woody species by the NFI. Every sighting conforming to the requirements will be published on this website as well as the most important findings will be verified by NFI field teams on site.

Basis for research

The goal of this project is to collect reliable information about the location of woody species growing at high altitudes for every tree and shrub species over the whole of Switzerland

The reported and validated sightings will form the basis for a scientific long-term series of measurements to analyze plant growth at the tree line over time. Furthermore, the can provide valuable insight on how climate change effects the distribution of a single tree species.

What makes a tree a tree?

Botanically, a tree is a perennial plant having a clearly upright, ligneous stem. But, many tree species grow dwarfed when influenced by climate, snow pressure or browsing. Especially, a low habit is typical in the transition zone above the tree line. Therefore, not every individual of a tree species shows the actual live-form of a tree.

The tree line however, is formed by trees, which are at least 2 or 3 meters high depending on the cited author. And where is the forest boundary line? According to the international forest definition, a forest tree has to measure at least 5 meters. Therefore, every reported sighting is assigned a height class in order to be able to investigate the altitudes of the different boundary types.

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last update: 10.11.2017