Conference 2020

Botanica Sudalpina


20-21 November 2020

Natural History Museum of Canton Ticino, Lugano


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Deadlines not to miss

  • Reduced fee registration
  • Abstract Submission
  • Registration closure


Registration is opening at a time when the current pandemic situation is slowly improving, but still with great uncertainty. Although we hope to see a return to normality in the coming months so that the congress can run smoothly, we would like to make the following considerations, with the intention of keeping you always informed. In case the current health crisis related to COVID-19 should persist in the fall, the number of maximum participants at the conference will be adjusted to meet cantonal or federal guidelines. The adjustments may also affect the satellite events, excursions, and the format of the meals and aperitifs. In the worst-case scenario where the pandemic returns in its full form and it is no longer possible to execute the conference as planned, we will consider other options, as well as refunds of the registration fee in the case of cancellation.



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 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.

Registration will open at the end of March 2020. Please subscribe to our newsletter so as to not miss out on any deadlines or updates.

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?

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.

Preliminary Program

Franklin University, Sorengo




Satellite events


Plenary lecture – Guest Speaker


Welcome aperò


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

Towards a new atlas of the Swiss flora?

Organizer: Corinne Huck, Info Flora Bern, Switzerland.

Type of event:  Introductory oral presentation and group discussion

The last comprehensive mapping of the Swiss flora was carried out from 1967 to 1982 and resulted in the Atlas of Welten & Sutter. Since 1982, floristic mappings have only been carried out in some regions resulting in considerable differences of sampling intensity among regions. Consequently, the distribution of several species is not correctly known and the evolution of the flora is difficult to assess. To solve these problems, we need to ensure a minimum sampling intensity throughout Switzerland with a common methodology. Finding a common methodology is a real challenge, especially when it also has to be applied to remote and steep mountain areas where few botanists are living. Since 2015, Info Flora adopted an approach for its project “Mission Inventory” where the inventory at the resolution of 5x5km starts with a complete inventory of the central 1x1km-square. Based on the results, Info Flora decided to propose some strategic changes and is testing in 2020 a new approach based on 100x100m plots nested in 5x5km-squares. By the time of the event in November, results of the 2020 field tests will be available. We would like to use this event to present the method, to discuss it and to find together solutions for the biggest challenges of such a mapping project.

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

Natural history museum, Lugano




Welcome & Opening


Plenary lecture – Guest Speaker 1


Short presentations


Coffee break with poster session


Short presentations

Lunch break
Plenary lecture – Guest Speaker 2

Short presentations

Coffee break with poster session

Short presentations


Final discussion

Closing ceremony & aperò


Willy Tinner

Simon Pierce

Gabriele Carraro


Museum visit & botanical excursions

Excursions and guided visits

In Front and Behind the Scenes of the Museum

A visit in front and behind the scenes of the Natural History Museum of Canton Ticino will reveal the past and present of the natural heritage of Canton Ticino housed in the museum and its collections.

With: Pia Giorgetti, Biologist of the Natural History Museum

Tentative schedule: 10:30-12:00

Meeting point: At the Museum entrance

Language: Italian and French

Info: For congress participants only – min. 5 / max. 20 pers.

Botanical Walk on the Gandria Trail

Owing to the exceptional beauty of the landscape and the uniqueness of its naturalistic content, the Gandria Trail is now included in the Federal Inventory of Landscapes and Natural Monuments and in the Federal Inventory of Dry Meadows and Pastures.  This corner of biodiversity, overlooking the lake, is home to more than 350 plant species, about 50 of which are threatened with extinction. During the excursion, the virtuous naturalistic management adopted in recent years will also be presented. The path is easily accessible and does not present particular difficulties.

With: Nicola Schoenenberger, biologist and botanist

Tentative schedule: 10:00-12:00

Meeting point: At bus stop ‘Castagnola, S. Domenico’ (bus line 2, direction Castagnola)

Language: English, Italian, German

Info: For congress participants only – min. 10 / max. 25 pers.

The Chestnut Tree and its Woods: New Climax on the Horizon

The widespread cultivation of chestnuts in Ticino was quickly abandoned after the Second World War. After a first phase of apparent resilience, now the evolution of chestnut woods seems to have taken an exponential curve, both for the senescence of individuals and for the colonization of alien species to the Quercion robori-petraeae castanetosum. This phenomenon is more than relevant given the current extent of chestnut woods in Ticino. What are the causes and consequences of this phenomenon, at the level of (genetic?) conservation of the species (Castanea sativa Mill.), of species and coenosis, of the protective function and, finally, of the landscape?

With: Guido Maspoli, botanist and scientific collaborator of the Nature and Landscape Office of Canton Ticino.

Tentative schedule: 9:30-12:30

Meeting point: At bus stop ‘Arbedo Casa comunale’ (bus line 1 1028, direction Castione villaggio)

Language: French, Italian, English

Info: For congress participants only – min. 10 / max. 25 pers.


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 cantonale della selvicoltura e del Demanio, Bellizona (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)

How to get

How to get to the conference

By public transportation

The bus stop for the Museum/conference is "Lugano, Palazzo Study".

  • From Lugano main train station, take Bus 2 (direction Castagnola) to Lugano, Palazzo Studi (5 stops). Ca. every 15 min.
  • From Lugano train station you can also take Bus 3 from the side of piazza Bezzo (direction Canobbio, Mercato Resega) to Lugano, Palazzo Studi (5 stops).
  • From Lugano Nord station, take Bus 443 (direction Lugano Autosilo Balestra) to Lugano, Cappuccine, then transfer to Bus 2 to Lugano, Palazzo studi.

By car

Free parking at the Museum is very limited. Alternatively, parking lots are available at the ‘Parcheggio Campo Marzio’ located in front of the public swimming pool (at about 100m from the bus stop Palazzi Studi).

How to get to the Franklin University

By public transport

From the Lugano train station

Post bus: Take Bus 436 (towards Agra) to Sorengo, Clinica S. Anna (one stop) from behind the station.

FLP train: Take the S60 to the Sorengo-Laghetto stop. It’s about a 10-minute walk up the hill to Katlesch.

Lugano city bus (TPL): Take Bus 2 (towards Paradiso) to the Loreto stop or Bus 4 (towards Lugano Centro) to the Piazza Loreto stop.  Walk up the paths, Via Giroggio and Via Panera.

From other points in Lugano

In addition to the connections from the train station, you can also take the Bus 3 to Piazzale di Besso and walk up Via Sorengo to Franklin’s Kaletsch Campus (about 15 mins).  Please note, you will walk past Franklin’s other campus en route.

By car

Coming from Milan: take the A9 motorway, direction ‘Como-San Gottardo’ or the A8 motorway, direction ‘Varese-Stabio-Gaggiolo’. Exit: Lugano Sud. 

Coming from Zurich: take the A2 motorway, direction ‘San Gottardo-Chiasso-Italy’. Exit: Lugano Nord.

The parking lot on Kaletsch is located off of Via Paradiso, the entry drive is across from the Tamoil gas station.


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In collaboration with

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

Copyright © 2020 Botanica Sudalpina Conference 2017 - Lugano. All rights reserved.