The NFZ Summer School 2015 took place at Fafleralp, situated in an idyllic mountain setting surrounded by majestic summits and with a panoramic view of the Lötschental Valley (Switzerland). The summer school profited from highly motivated presenters and students, beautiful weather, and an extraordinary accommodation. Hence, the school can be considered as a success that actively fostered the NFZ network.
The motivation for this summer school was that sustainable solutions in the context of climate change often ask for interdisciplinary and cross-scale approaches to address the complexity of interactions and linkages among the physical environment, forest development and the management of these ecosystems (see e.g. Huber et al. 2013). In general, forest research addresses climate change impacts with varying research methods at different spatial levels i.e., from the physiology of individual trees to experimental set ups in forest stands, to the modelling of forest ecosystems and the assessments on landscape level. The goal of the NFZ-summer school was to identify and discuss research gaps at these
interfaces in the context of climate change impacts on forest ecosystems.
To achieve this goal, experienced researchers from Nancy, Freiburg, and Zurich explored the possibilities and limits of interdisciplinary and cross-scale concepts within their specific research field and discussed linkages to other levels and scales. In addition, excursions to field experiments and experimental platforms in the regional Nature Parc Pfyn-Finges as well as the Lötschental provided hands on experience to climate change research in European mountain forests. Finally, the students wrote and extensively discussed a short-proposal of an interdisciplinary and cross-scale research project. Thus, students got a in-depth look into opportunities and challenges of interdisciplinary and cross-scale research.
We would like to thank the Swiss Federal Research Institute WSL, the rectorate of the ETH Zurich and the Competence Center for Environment and Sustainability of the ETH for their financial support.