My main research interests lie in agro-ecology and conservation biology, in particular in the management, restoration and conservation of semi-natural grasslands.

Currently in our group we are experimentally testing different management regimes in lowland meadows under Swiss agri-environment scheme so as to increase spatial, structural and ecological heterogeneity (link). We are also investigating how to optimize fertilisation and irrigation for ecosystem services in mountain meadowland to determine precisely under which management intensity (thresholds) functional biodiversity can be maintained (link). In a new project we further investigate the farmland biodiversity-productivity frontiers at the landscape scale (1 km2) under the following over-arching question that is of global relevance: «How to sustainably feed a steadily growing human population?» (link).

We are working at plot, field and landscape scales, with different taxa among plants, birds and invertebrates (e.g. orthopterans, spiders, butterflies, wild bees, plant- and leafhoppers, parasitoid wasps) looking at both species richness and population abundance.

While conducting applied research, I intend to bridge the gaps between science and policy, as well as science and society.

Year Description
2016 - present
Group leader and lecturer in the research team of Prof. Raphaël Arlettaz, Division Conservation Biology, Institute of Ecology and Evolution, University of Bern.
2017 Habilitation, Venia docendi, University of Bern.
2010 - 2016 Research and teaching assistant for Prof. Raphaël Arlettaz, Division Conservation Biology, Institute of Ecology and Evolution, University of Bern.
2014 - 2015 Three months scientific visit in Dr John Dwyer's group at the School of Biological Sciences, University of Queensland, Australia.
2007 - 2010 PhD at the Agroscope Reckenholz-Tänikon Research Station ART and Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich ETH. Thesis on low input meadow harvesting process and its impact on field invertebrates. With Mr. Thomas Walter ART and Prof. Jaboury Ghazoul ETH.
2001 - 2006 MSc in Biology, Evolution and Conservation, University of Lausanne.
2004 - 2005 One year academic exchange at the University of Montana, USA.

Publication list

Peer-reviewed articles

Zingg S, Ritschard E, Arlettaz R, Humbert J-Y, 2018. Increasing the proportion and quality of land under agri-environment schemes promotes birds and butterflies at the landscape scale. Biological Conservation 231:39-48

Zingg S, Grenz J, Humbert J-Y, 2018. Landscape-scale effects of land use intensity on birds and butterflies. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment 267:119-128

Boch S, Allan E, Humbert J-Y, Kurtogullari Y, Lessard-Therrien M, Müllerd J, Prati D, Rieder SN, Arlettaz R and Fischer M, 2018. Direct and indirect effects of land use on bryophytes in grasslands. Science of the Total Environment 644:60-67

Lessard‐Therrien M, Humbert J-Y, Hajdamowicz I, Stańska M, van Klink R, Lischer L and Arlettaz R, 2018. Impacts of management intensification on ground-dwelling beetles and spiders in semi-natural mountain grasslands. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment 251:59-66

Landwehr A, Oberson A, Lessard-Therrien M, Humbert J-Y, Arlettaz R and Huguenin-Elie O, 2017. Effects of irrigation on phosphorus in soil, soil microbes and plants of semi-natural grasslands. Grassland Science in Europe 22:348-350

Lessard‐Therrien M, Humbert J-Y and Arlettaz R, 2017. Experiment‐based recommendations for biodiversity‐friendly management of mountain hay meadows. Applied Vegetation Science 20:352-362

van Klink R, Boch S, Buri P, Rieder NS, Humbert J-Y* and Arlettaz* R, 2017. No detrimental effects of delayed mowing or uncut grass refuges on plant and bryophyte community structure and phytomass production in low-intensity hay meadows. Basic and Applied Ecology 20:1-9
* Co-senior authors

Meyer S, Unternährer D, Arlettaz R, Humbert J-Y and Menz MH, 2017. Promoting diverse communities of wild bees and hoverflies requires a landscape approach to managing meadows. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment 239:376-384

Buri P*, Humbert J-Y*, Stańska M, Hajdamowicz I, Tran E, Entling MH and Arlettaz R, 2016. Delayed mowing promotes planthoppers, leafhoppers and spiders in extensively managed meadows. Insect Conservation and Diversity 9:536-545
* Co-first authors

Andrey A, Humbert J-Y* and Arlettaz R*, 2016, Functional response of leaf-and planthoppers to modern fertilisation and irrigation of hay meadows. Basic and Applied Ecology 17:627-637
* Co-senior authors

Lavanchy G, Strehler M, Llanos Roman MN, Lessard‐Therrien M, Humbert J-Y, Dumas Z, Jalvingh K, Ghali K, García‐Cuenca AF, Zijlstra B, Arlettaz R and Schwander T, 2016. Habitat heterogeneity favors asexual reproduction in natural populations of grassthrips. Evolution 70:1780-1790

Bruppacher L, Pellet J, Arlettaz R and Humbert J-Y, 2016. Simple modifications of mowing regime promote butterflies in extensively managed meadows: Evidence from field-scale experiments. Biological Conservation 196:196–202

Humbert J-Y, Dwyer JM, Andrey A and Arlettaz R, 2016. Impacts of nitrogen addition on plant biodiversity in mountain grasslands depend on dose, application duration and climate: a systematic review. Global Change Biology 22:110-120

Trivellone V, Knop E, Turrini T, Andrey A, Humbert J-Y and Kunz G, 2015. New and remarkable leafhoppers and planthoppers (Hemiptera: Auchenorrhyncha) from Switzerland. Bulletin de la Société Entomologique Suisse 88:273-284

Kühne I, Arlettaz R, Pellet J, Bruppacher L and Humbert J-Y, 2015. Leaving an uncut grass refuge promotes butterfly abundance in extensively managed lowland hay meadows in Switzerland. Conservation Evidence 12:25-27 (PDF, 436KB)

Andrey A, Humbert J-Y, Pernollet C and Arlettaz R, 2014. Experimental evidence for the immediate impact of fertilization and irrigation upon the plant and invertebrate communities of mountain grasslands. Ecology and Evolution 4:2610-2613 (PDF, 901KB)

Buri P, Humbert J-Y and Arlettaz R, 2014. Promoting pollinating insects in intensive agricultural matrices: field-scale experimental manipulation of hay-meadow mowing regimes and its effects on bees. PLoS ONE 9(1):e85635 (PDF, 300KB)

Buri P, Arlettaz R and Humbert J-Y, 2013. Delaying mowing and leaving uncut refuges boosts orthopterans in extensively managed meadows: Evidence drawn from field-scale experimentation. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment 181:22-30

Humbert J-Y, Pellet J, Burri P and Arlettaz R, 2012. Does delaying the first mowing date benefit biodiversity in meadowland? Environmental Evidence 1-9 (PDF, 730KB)

Humbert J-Y, Ghazoul J, Richner N and Walter T, 2012. Uncut grass refuges mitigate the impact of mechanical meadow harvesting on orthopterans. Biological Conservation 152:96-101

Humbert J-Y, Ghazoul J, Richner N and Walter T, 2010. Hay harvesting causes high orthopteran mortality. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment 139:522–527

Humbert J-Y, Ghazoul J, Sauter GJ and Walter T, 2010. Impact of different meadow mowing techniques on field invertebrates. Journal of Applied Entomology 134:592-599

Humbert J-Y, Mills LS, Horne JS and Dennis B, 2009. A better way to estimate population trend. Oikos 118:1940-1946

Humbert J-Y, Ghazoul J, Sauter GJ and Walter T, 2009. Mowing impacts on invertebrate models. Grassland Science in Europe 15:61-63

Humbert J-Y, Ghazoul J and Walter T, 2009. Meadow harvesting techniques and their impacts on field fauna. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment 130:1-8

Schwander T, Humbert J-Y, Brent CS, Helms Cahan S, Chapuis L, Renai E and Keller L, 2008. Maternal effect on female caste determination in a social insect. Current Biology 18:265-269

Other pertinent publications

Humbert J-Y, Buri P, Unternährer D and Arlettaz R, 2018. Des régimes de fauche alternatifs pour favoriser la biodiversité des prairies. Recherche Agronomique Suisse 9:314-321.

Humbert J-Y, Buri P, Unternährer D and Arlettaz R, 2018. Alternative Mähregimes zur Förderung der Artenvielfalt von Wiesen. Agrarforschung Schweiz 9:314-321.

Fischer M et al. (2015): Zustand der Biodiversität in der Schweiz 2014. Hrsg.: Forum Biodiversität Schweiz et al., Bern.

Humbert J-Y 2014. Des prairies favorables aux abeilles et orthoptères. Agri hebdo 31.01.2014 p. 16. (PDF, 224KB)

Humbert J-Y, 2012. Policy Brief: Grassland management to enhance invertebrate conservation. The Bulletin of the British Ecological Society 43(4):11-14. (PDF, 1010KB)

Humbert J-Y, Richner N, Sauter GJ, Ghazoul J and Walter T, 2010. Graslandernte-Prozesse und ihre Wirkung auf die Fauna. Zurich. ART Report 724. Agroscope Reckenholz-Tänikon Research Station ART, Zurich. (PDF, 832KB)

Humbert J-Y, Richner N, Sauter GJ, Ghazoul J and Walter T, 2010. Effets sur la faune des processus de récolte des prairies. ART Report 724. Agroscope Reckenholz-Tänikon Research Station ART, Zurich.(PDF, 693KB)

Humbert J-Y and Walter T, 2009. Wirkung von Grasernte-Techniken auf die Fauna. KBNL Inside 2/09

Humbert J-Y, Beerli C and Jacot K, 2006. Effets des ourlets semés sur les campagnols et les taupes. Revue suisse Agric. 38:285-290