New palaeoecological investigations (pollen, macrofossil, and charcoal analyses) provide important evidence on the fire history and the long-term fire ecology of different regions of Switzerland. The results from the Swiss plateau, the Northern and Central Alps and Southern Switzerland suggest that fire played a different role for the long-term vegetational development in the different regions. In the Northern Alps and Southern Switzerland anthropogenic fires led to the disappearance of entire forest communities. These fires especially affected the fire-sensitive speciesAbies alba. On the Swiss Plateau fire frequencies were markedly lower than in the Southern Alps. Nevertheless, fires probably led to a decline in the occurrence of fire-sensitive taxa such as Ulmus,Fraxinus excelsior or Tilia at lower altitudes (Fagus silvatica-Quercusbelt). First evidences from the Central Alps suggest that forest fires were naturally more frequent in this continental region and that the vegetation might be better fire-adapted than the original(partly or completely vanished) plant communities of the Swiss Plateau, the Northern Alps and Southern Switzerland.

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