Heavy metals in mountain soils and their role as ecological site factors

Departure: ETH Zurich, 8.00

Return: ETH Zurich, ca. 19.30

Lunch break: from ca. 13.00 to 14.30 at Kessler's Kulm Hotel/Restaurant

Number of participants: Minimum 15, maximum 25

Recommendations: Sturdy shoes and rain protection. Easy walking for about 75-90 minutes.

Cost: 100.- Swiss Francs/person (transport, lunch, snack bag, visits, trip guides)

Organizers: Reto Giulio Meuli (Agroscope) and Stephan Zimmermann (WSL)

Switzerland is operating since 30 years the soil monitoring network NABO to control large-scale emissions of pollutants from non-point sources, in particular heavy metals. In addition, the network of long-term forest observatory sites LWF has been established in the last ten years to investigate how changing environmental conditions affect Swiss forests. The excursion focuses on the biogeochemistry and management of heavy metals in alpine forest ecosystems, showing sites around the alpine town Davos in eastern Switzerland as case examples.

In the morning, shortly before arriving at Davos, we will visit a little hill east of the Wolfgang pass. The hill was formed by the deposition of two successive rock-slides, which occured 14'000 years ago in the late Pleistocene. The two rock-slides brought two different types of rock, which led to the development of two completely different types of soil and forest vegetation. The Drusatscha Forest is mainly stocking on acid crystalline rock, which was deposited with the first rock-slide, whereas the Delen Forest developed on serpentine rocks originating from the second rock-slide. In the Delen Forest, mountain pine is the dominating tree species, whereas the Drusatscha Forest is a spruce forest.

After lunch, we will move to the Seehorn Forest, from where we have a spectacular view over the Landwasser valley and Davos, the highest town in the Alps. Situated in a beautiful mountain valley, Davos is famous as health, sport and recreational resort and internationally known for hosting the annual World Economic Forum (WEF) meetings. In the Seehorn Forest, we will visit a mountain site of the NABO (www.nabo.ch) and an LWF site.

Lake Davos and Wolfgang pass with the Drusatscha Forest (rightside of the lake) © Michael Straub, Davos-Wiesen (www.michael-straub.ch)

View on Lake Davos and Seehorn Forest (afternoon stop) from Dorfberg above Davos © Lino Schmid