Conference 2021

Botanica Sudalpina


26-27 March 2021


Acts Botanica Sudalpina Conference 2021

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  • Reduced fee registration
  • Abstract Submission
  • Registration closure



Botanica Sudalpina Conference is in its second edition. It first took place in 2017 at the initiative of the Botanical Society of Ticino and has been made possible thanks to the collaboration of the Natural History Museum of Canton Ticino and Franklin University Switzerland, as well as the financial support of Info Flora, the Society of Natural Sciences of Cantone Ticino, and the Association Botanic Garden Islands of Brissago.

The event aims to serve as a platform for meeting and exchange among all those involved in scientific research (fundamental and applied) on the flora of the Southern Alps and, in particular, of Canton Ticino. It also aims to promote collaboration, provide an overview of the current situation, and eventually outline priorities and future prospects. The conference welcomes scientific work examining biogeography, conservation, diversity, ecology, evolution, physiology, floristics, and systematics of native and neophyte plant species. Anyone interested in these topics can submit an abstract or simply be part of the audience.

The 2020 (now 2021) conference will offer an even richer program than the first. In particular, some satellite events will be offered on the day preceding the main conference, while some local field trips will mark the end of the event.

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Guest speakers

Prof. Dr.

Willy Tinner

Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research and Institute of Plant Sciences, University of Bern.

Prehistoric land-use change and its long-term legacy for future European vegetation dynamics.

Prehistoric land-use change and its long-term legacy for future European vegetation dynamics.

Prof. Dr. Willy Tinner

Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research and Institute of Plant Sciences, University of Bern

Legacies comprise human and ecological memories or carryover of the ecosystem, they are effects of past events that influence extant ecosystems. In this lecture we consider four legacy examples that have wide consequences for European vegetation and its services to the society. First, we discuss if climate change, specifically the interglacial-glacial cycles have created empty niches in Europe, making the continent particularly susceptible to invasions of plant species coming from continents that are floristically more diverse. Second we assess the Vera hypothesis, a speculation that has been controversially debated in European ecosystem management. The question that can be checked by palaeoecological approaches is, whether (apart from the eastern steppes) European ecosystems would be naturally forested or kept open by megaherbivores such as elephants, hippos or ruminants. Third we discuss the course of biodiversity in and around the Alps, specifically the reasons and processes that shaped significant biodiversity declines in forests and biodiversity increases in open lands during the past 5000 years. Finally, we use palaeoecological and palaeoclimatic evidence as well as process-based dynamic modelling to address the question, whether humans changed the realized climatic niches of species during the past 5000 years, creating a continental disequilibrium of species distributions with current climatic conditions. On the basis of these four examples, we suggest the use of palaeo-validated process-based dynamic models to better assess future vegetation dynamics under global change conditions.


Simon Pierce

University of Milan, Department of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Italy

What is the minimum viable population size for rare plant species?

What is the minimum viable population size for rare plant species?

Dr. Simon Pierce

University of Milan, Department of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Italy

Population size is a key parameter in conservation biology, and the number of individuals necessary for a population to persist over time is known as the ‘minimum viable population (MVP) size’. Calculating the MVP size for rare plant species can guide the planning of conservation actions and help understanding of whether conservation projects have been successful, but it is extremely difficult to determine what this number actually is. In the words of one conservationist, “how much is enough?”. Traditionally, MVP size has been estimated using computer models but, like weather forecasting, environmental variability over time cannot be predicted with certainty. Here, I suggest that a valuable approach may be to observe the biological effects evident in populations of different sizes in the wild. I show that a range of studies of reproductive effort (fruit and seed production) and genetic variability for rare and endangered plant species indicate that decreasing population size has a gradual effect until a critical point, beyond which any further decline in population size has a drastic impact on plant fitness. These ‘tipping points’ or ‘critical thresholds’ are not exactly the same thing as MVP size, but they do give a realistic indication of when populations are at particularly high risk. Usually, these tipping points occur when population size falls below around 50 to 500 individuals (depending on the species). Estimating tipping points for each species can show which populations are likely to respond positively to conservation actions.

Ing. forst. dipl. ETH

Gabriele Carraro

Dionea SA, Locarno, Switzerland

The forest vegetation of the Onsernone Valley, 100 years ago, today and future trends.

The forest vegetation of the Onsernone Valley, 100 years ago, today and future trends.

Ing. forst. dipl. ETH Gabriele Carraro

Dionea SA, Locarno, Switzerland

It has been more than 100 years ago, that Johannes Bär studied and mapped the forest vegetation of the Onsernone valley (Ticino): rare, scientific work in our Alpine valleys, with great benefits for today’s understanding of evolutionary dynamics and for the management of forest ecosystems. For the comparison of the current state of vegetation with that of the past and for processing of future development scenarios, an updated mapping was required in addition to Bär’s map. A detailed mapping carried out solely by terrestrial surveys, in rough and partly inaccessible regions, which extends over 100 km2, is difficult and very costly. To overcome these difficulties, an alternative method was developed, based on existing terrestrial surveys and supplemented by trans-sectoral mapping over a total area of 10 km2. These assessments were the basis for an area-wide modelling using Random Forest Models. Considering the large number of forest types present in the valley (31), the model is able to forecast effectively. In an area with many newly formed forests, reliability of results could be increased by the evolutionary dynamics derived from historical maps. Hence, J. Bär’s map represents a valuable data set that contributes to a better understanding of the present vegetation distribution. Subsequently, results of the modelling and the quality of the forest vegetation map could be improved thanks to existing and additional terrestrial surveys and to the use of aerial photographs and drones for quality control. Based on these findings combined with contributions in the field of forest history, landscape studies, palynology and local climatic conditions, it was possible to reconstruct the dynamics of forest vegetation in the Onsernone valley with its evolutionary potential, considering also climate change scenarios.



Opening check-in


Welcome & instructions


Plenary lecture - The forest vegetation of the Onsernone Valley, 100 years ago, today and future trends

Speaker: Ing. Forst. Dipl. ETH Gabriele Carraro, Dionea SA

Short break (+ check in for new attendees)

Satellite events

• Diversity and conservation of fungi, lichens, and mosses
David Frey, Swiss Federal Research Institute WSL

• Mapping and monitoring of rare plants: methods and priorities for Switzerland
Christophe Bornand, Info Flora

• Classifying impacts of alien species
Anna Probert and Giovanni Vimercati, University of Fribourg

Satellite Events end


Biodiversity and conservation of fungi, lichens and bryophytes in Switzerland. Past, present and way forward.

Organizer: Dr. David Frey, Swiss Federal Research Institute WSL and coordinator of fungi and lichen conservation, Canton Ticino, Switzerland.

Type of event:  Short oral presentations and round-table discussion

The aim of this event is to provide an overview of cryptogam conservation initiatives in Switzerland, with a special focus on the Southern Alps. In addition, recent advances in the knowledge of cryptogam diversity and distribution will be presented. Conservation status (e.g. Red List) assessments of fungi, lichens and bryophytes are challenging. Challenges include poor knowledge of their distribution, taxonomic uncertainties and lack of experts. Thus, the short oral presentations and round-table discussion also serve as an exchange of ideas and experience on how to face these challenges, and to identify potential synergies in conservation among groups.

Cost for participants: free

Max. 30 participants, upon registration

Mapping and monitoring of rare plants: methods and priorities for Switzerland

Organizer: Christophe Bornand, Info Flora Bern, Switzerland.

Type of event:  Introductory oral presentation with workshop

With this satellite event, you will discover the methods and tools developed by Info Flora since 2012 for the monitoring of threatened plant populations and how regional botanical communities can take part to the monitoring through the “Mission Flora” project. This meeting will also provide the opportunity to discuss how much attention should rare and/or threatened species receive during a floristic mapping project like a “new atlas” of the Swiss flora.

Cost for participants: free, upon registration

Classifying impacts of alien taxa

Organizer: Anna Probert and Giovanni Vimercati, University of Fribourg, Switzerland.


Type of event:  Workshop

Alien species cause a range of different environmental impacts through a variety of mechanisms. Until recently, understanding and evaluating these impacts across taxa was relatively difficult due to a lack of a standardised metric that could be applied across different invasion scenarios. To address this knowledge gap, the Environmental Impact Classification for Alien Taxa (EICAT) was developed; this year, EICAT was adopted by the IUCN as an official classification system.

EICAT is a ranked classification scheme that works by assigning one of five impact magnitudes to individual records of impact collated from the literature. So far, the system has been applied to various taxa at both local and global scales, providing a key tool for invasion scientists, pest managers and other practitioners.

During this workshop, you will learn the key concepts of EICAT and then how to apply it using real impact records for various taxonomic groups. You will become equipped with the correct knowledge and understanding to apply EICAT under the IUCN standard.

Cost for participants: free

Max. 20 participants, upon registration



Opening check-in


Welcome & instructions


Plenary lecture - Prehistoric land-use change and its long-term legacy for future European vegetation dynamics

Speaker: Prof. Dr. Willy Tinner, University of Bern


Short break


Is climate the main driver of the spreading of broadleaved evergreen species in southern Switzerland?

Speakers: Gianni Boris Pezzatti, InsubricGianni Boris Pezzatti, InsubricEcosystems Research Group,Swiss Federal Institute WSL


Sexual and genetic patterns of the invasive palmTrachycarpus fortunei (Arecaceae) in southern Switzerland and northern Italy

Speaker: Antoine Jousson, University of Geneva (BIVEG), Botanical Garden of Geneva


Automated pollinators monitoring on sympatric cytotypes of Senecio doronicum

Speaker: Luca Pegoraro, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew


Poster Session 1 + Coffee break with


Modelling range dynamics of terricolous lichens of the genus Peltigera in the Alps under a climatechange scenario

Speaker: Chiara Vallese, University of Bologna


Limits to Phenotypic Evolution along Elevational Gradients within and among Saxifraga species

Speaker: Seraina Rodewald, University of Basel


Living on the edge. Unravelling biology and ecology of the endangered endemic alpine plant Androsacebrevis (Primulaceae) by a multidisciplinary approach

Speaker: Marco Bonelli, University of Milan


Ancient ecotypes of Secale cereale and Fagopyrum esculentum in Valtellina (Central Alps): characterizationby morphological, genetic and nutraceutic traits

Speaker: Rodolfo Gentili, University of Milano–Bicocca

Group Photo!
Lunch break ( remains open)

Plenary lecture - What is the minimum viable population size for rareplant species?

Speaker: Dr. Simon Pierce, University of Milan

Short break

Nationwide revisitation reveals thousands of local extinctions across the ranges of 713 threatened andrare plant species

Speaker: Anne Kempel, Institute of Plant Sciences, University of Bern


Strong decline of grassland habitat quality on the southern side of the Alps

Speaker: Steffen Boch, Swiss Federal Research Institute WSL


The importance of genetic diversity and habitat suitability for in-situ conservation and translocationsof threatened plant species

Speaker: Deborah Schäfer, Botanical Garden of the University of Bern

Poster Session 2 + Coffee break with

Plant adaptive strategies in the dark diversity of forest vegetation in the province of Varese (Lombardy)

Speaker: Michele Dalle Fratte, Università degli Studi dell’Insubria


Grouping of floristic quadrants with similar vegetation using beta diversity

Speaker: Michael Kleih, Società Botanica Ticinese

Short break

Taxonomy and distribution of the Sheep Fescues (Festuca ovina s. lat.) in the Alps and surrounding areas: current state of knowledge

Speaker: Peter Englmaier, University of Vienna


The multiple identities of the common moonwort, Botrychium lunaria

Speaker: Vinciane Mossion, University of Neuchâtel

Final discussion & Awards









Oral presentations

For logistical and technical reasons, all presentations will be shown by us at the conference as videos followed by brief question session in real time, managed by a moderator. Presenters should be available online during their respective sessions to answer any questions. 

  • Language: All presentations are to be in English and shown at the conference as videos recorded in advance by presenters.
  • Timing: Every speaker will have a time slot of 15 minutes: 10-12 min for the presentation (max length of video 12 min!) and 3-5 min for questions. We kindly ask speakers to hold on to these time indications.
  • Format: Presentations must be recorded in the mp4 format. See instructions attached or on the website 
  • Submission deadline (!): Wednesday 17 MARCH 2021.
    using SWISSTRANSFER ( and the email address as destination.


To ensure good visibility, posters will be made available to the participants on the conference website ( starting from one week before the conference.

Poster sessions will be held during the morning and afternoon coffee breaks (see program). During these breaks, a virtual discussion room will be created, where participants will be able to talk directly with the authors of the posters and ask questions. The technical details will be explained before and during the conference.

Poster authors may choose to prepare a classic poster in PDF format or an electronic poster (e-poster) as a short video.

  • Language: The posters can be in Italian or English.
  • Poster PDF: The dimensions must be 84 x 119 cm (A0, vertical).
  • E-poster: Max 4 slides, and a video in mp4 format up to a maximum of 3 min.  See instructions attached or on the website
  • Submission deadline (!): Wednesday 17 MARCH 2021.
    Send Poster PDF or E-poster MP4 using SWISSTRANSFER ( and the email address   as destination.

Recording options for presentations or e-posters

For your presentation, you will need to share with us an MP4 file that we will broadcast during the conference (see share instructions below). There are multiple options to do such a recording, depending on your software and operating system. We highlight a few below.


In many versions of PowerPoint, you can record your slideshow as you present it and export it as a .mp4 file after you have finished recording.

Full instructions on recording: 

Full instructions on exporting recording as MP4: 



If you have a Teams account, you can make a recording of your presentation with your computer’s screen, webcam, and mic by having a meeting with yourself (choose “Meet now”).  The recording is generally saved (and able to be edited) in SharePoint or OneDrive. 

See instructions here: 


If you have a Mac, you can use QuickTime to record your screen while you present from any software (NB: make sure you have turned on the record audio option).  NB: QuickTime’s default file type is .MOV—make sure to export it as a .MP4.  

Instructions are here: 

Sharing your mp4 file with us

First, please name your presentation video (max. 12 min!) or e-poster (max. 3 min!) with the family name and first name of the presenting author “FAMILYNAME-FIRSTNAME.mp4”. 

To share your mp4 file use SWISSTRANSFER (, and send it to us using the following email address:


Organizing Committee

  • Brigitte Marazzi
    Museo cantonale di storia naturale, Lugano – Info Flora, Lugano (CH)
  • Brack Hale
    Franklin University Switzerland, Lugano (CH)
  • Alessio Maccagni
    University of Basel (CH)
  • Sofia Mangili
    Museo cantonale di storia naturale, Lugano (CH)
  • Daniela Soldati
    Giardino Botanico del Cantone Ticino, Isole di Brissago (CH)
  • Laura Torriani
    Tesoriera Società Botanica Ticinese (CH)

Scientific Committee

  • Bruno E.L. Cerabolini
    University of Insubria, Varese (IT)
  • Roberta Ceriani
    Centro Flora Autoctona della Lombardia, Galbiate (IT)
  • Elena Conti
    University of Zurich, Zurich (CH)
  • Stefan Eggenberg
    Info Flora, Bern (CH)
  • François Felber
    Musée et Jardin botaniques de Lausanne - Presidente Società Botanica Svizzera (CH)
  • David Frey
    WSL, Birmensdorf (CH)
  • Rodolfo Gentili
    University of Milano-Bicocca, Milano (IT)
  • Mauro Jermini
    Agroscope, Cadenazzo (CH)
  • Catherine Lambelet
    Societé Botanique de Genève (CH)
  • Guido Maspoli
    Ufficio cantonale della natura e del paesaggio, Bellizona (CH)
  • Giorgio Moretti
    Ufficio della selvicoltura e degli organismi pericolosi (CH)
  • Marco Moretti
    WSL, Birmensdorf - STSN (CH)
  • Andrea Persico
    Pro Natura, Bellinzona (CH)
  • Boris Pezzati
    WSL, Cadenazzo (CH)
  • Filippo Rampazzi
    Museo cantonale di storia naturale, Lugano (CH)
  • Nicola Schoenenberger
    Fondazione Innovabridge, Caslano (CH)


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Thank you Michele Jurietti for the allowed use of photos of Androsace brevis.

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