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Conservation biology of the flora of erratic boulders

Erratic boulders are rocks that have been relocated, often across hundreds of kilometres, by glaciers during the Ice Ages. When they differ in their geology from the surrounding landscape (e.g. calcareous vs. non-calcareous), erratic boulders form habitat islands for regionally rare rock-dwelling cryptogams (bryophytes, ferns and lichens), which are specialists for the specific rock composition of erratic boulders. In many places, the cryptogam communities of erratic boulders are threatened because boulders have been destroyed as a result of land-use changes around boulders, the use of large boulders for sport climbing, and a lack of knowledge on the part of stakeholders regarding the special biodiversity on erratic boulders.

This project aimed to create an evidence-based foundation for the conservation of insular cryptogam communities on erratic boulders. The project was conducted as a doctoral thesis(PDF 13,3 MB) in collaboration with the WSL, ETH and Pro Natura.



The project was funded by the following foundations, associations, and governmental and non-governmental organisations (alphabetically listed):