My research focus is on wildlife ecology & conservation, mainly in forests and Alpine ecosystems. I am particularly interested in developing spatially explicit methods to analyse species-habitat interactions in various ways, in order to provide applicable fundamentals for conservation management. In addition to my position at UniBE I am leading the "Forest Reserves" group at the Forest Research Institute of Baden-Württemberg, Freiburg, Germany.

Current projects

Spatio-temporal relationships between large carnivores and their ungulate prey

Can structural diversity and habitat heterogeneity explain species diversity in temperate forests?

Predicted effects of climate change on indicator species of structural and biological diversity in mountain forests

Ecology and conservation of the Black Grouse (Tetrao tetrix)

Spatial and temporal range use of the Bearded vulture (Gypaetus barbatus) in Switzerland


Magg, N., E. Ballenthien & V. Braunisch. 2019. Faunal surrogates for forest species conservation: A systematic niche-based approach. Ecological Indicators 102: 65-75. (PDF, 1.4 MB)

Braunisch, V., S. Roder, J. Coppes, J.S.P. Froidevaux, R. Arlettaz & K. Bollmann. 2019. Structural complexity in managed and strictly protected mountain forests: Effects on the habitat suitability for indicator bird species. Forest Ecology and Management 448: 139-149. (PDF, 1.1 MB)

Resano-Mayor, J., F. Korner-Nievergelt, S. Vignali, N. Horrenberger, A.G. Barras, V. Braunisch, C.A. Pernollet & R. Arlettaz. 2019. Snow cover phenology is the main driver of foraging habitat selection for a high‑alpine passerine during breeding: implications for species persistence in the face of climate change. Biodiversity and Conservation 28: 2669-2685. (PDF, 1.9 MB)

Rehnus, M., K. Bollmann, D.R. Schmatz, K. Hackländer & V. Braunisch. 2018. Alpine glacial relict species losing out to climate change: The case of the fragmented mountain hare population (Lepus timidus) in the Alps. Global Change Biology 24: 3236-3253. (PDF, 1.2 MB)

Zielewska-Büttner, K., M. Heurich, J. Müller & V. Braunisch. 2018. Remotely Sensed Single Tree Data Enable the Determination of Habitat Thresholds for the Three-Toed Woodpecker (Picoides tridactylus). Remote Sensing 10: art. 1972. (PDF, 956KB)

Coppes, J., J.L. Kämmerle, M. Willert, A. Kohnen, R. Palme & V. Braunisch. 2018. The importance of individual heterogeneity for interpreting faecal glucocorticoid metabolite levels in wildlife studies. Journal of Applied Ecology 55: 2043-2054. (PDF, 1.1 MB)

Coppes, J., U. Nopp-Mayr, V. Grünschachner-Berger, I. Storch, R. Suchant & V. Braunisch. 2018. Habitat suitability modulates the response of wildlife to human recreation. Biological Conservation 227: 56-64. (PDF, 903KB)

Brambilla, M., J. Resano-Mayor, D. Scridel, M. Anderle, G. Bogliani, V. Braunisch, F. Capelli, M. Cortesi, N. Horrenberger, P. Pedrini, B. Sangalli, D. Chamberlain, R. Arlettaz & D. Rubolini. 2018. Past and future impact of climate change on foraging habitat suitability in a high-alpine bird species: Management options to buffer against global warming effects. Biological Conservation 221: 209-218. (PDF, 1.0 MB)

Wellig, S.D., S. Nusslé, D. Miltner, O. Kohle, O. Glaizot, V. Braunisch, M.K. Obrist & R. Arlettaz. 2018. Mitigating the negative impacts of tall wind turbines on bats: Vertical activity profiles and relationships to wind speed. PLoS ONE 13: e0192493. (PDF, 1.0 MB)

Coppes, J., J. Ehrlacher, D. Thiel, R. Suchant & V. Braunisch. 2017. Outdoor recreation causes effective habitat reduction in capercaillie Tetrao urogallus: a major threat for geographically restricted populations. Journal of Avian Biology 48: 1583-1594. (PDF, 3.9 MB)

Coppes, J., F. Burghardt, R. Hagen, R. Suchant & V. Braunisch. 2017. Human recreation affects spatio-temporal habitat use patterns in red deer (Cervus elaphus). PLoS ONE 12: e0175134. (PDF, 1.6 MB)

Biollaz, F., S. Mettaz, F. Zimmermann, V. Braunisch & R. Arlettaz. 2016. Statut du lynx en Valais quatre décennies après son retour: suivi au moyen de pièges photographiques. Bulletin de la Murithienne 133: 29-44. (PDF, 1.5 MB)

Braunisch, V., P. Patthey & R. Arlettaz. 2016. Where to Combat Shrub Encroachment in Alpine Timberline Ecosystems: Combining Remotely-Sensed Vegetation Information with Species Habitat Modelling. PLoS ONE 11: e0164318. (PDF, 2.1 MB)

Zellweger, F., A. Baltensweiler, C. Ginzler, T. Roth, V. Braunisch, H. Bugmann & K. Bollmann. 2016. Environmental predictors of species richness in forest landscapes: abiotic factors versus vegetation structure. Journal of Biogeography 43: 1080-1090. (PDF, 570KB)

Rehnus, M., V. Braunisch, K. Hackländer, L. Jost & K. Bollmann. 2016. The seasonal trade-off between food and cover in the Alpine mountain hare (Lepus timidus). European Journal of Wildlife Research 62: 11-21. (PDF, 704KB)

Zellweger, F., A. Baltensweiler, C. Ginzler, T. Roth, V. Braunisch, H. Bugmann & K. Bollmann. 2016. Environmental predictors of species richness in forest landscapes: abiotic factors versus vegetation structure. Journal of Biogeography 43: 1080-1090. (PDF, 570KB)

Zielewska-Büttner, K., P. Adler, M. Ehmann & V. Braunisch. 2016. Automated Detection of Forest Gaps in Spruce Dominated Stands Using Canopy Height Models Derived from Stereo Aerial Imagery. Remote Sensing 8: art. 175. (PDF, 3.2 MB)

Hofstetter, L., R. Arlettaz, K. Bollmann & V. Braunisch. 2015. Interchangeable sets of complementary habitat variables allow for flexible, site-adapted wildlife habitat management in forest ecosystems. Basic and Applied Ecology 16: 420-433. (PDF, 1.1 MB)

Braunisch, V., J. Coppes, S. Bächle & R. Suchant. 2015. Underpinning the precautionary principle with evidence: A spatial concept for guiding wind power development in endangered species’ habitats. Journal for Nature Conservation 24: 31-40. PDF, 1.2 MB)

Zellweger, F., V. Braunisch, F. Morsdorf, A. Baltensweiler, M. Abegg, T. Roth, H. Bugmann & K. Bollmann. 2015. Disentangling the effects of climate, topography, soil and vegetation on stand-scale species richness in temperate forests. Forest Ecology and Management 349: 3 6-44. (PDF, 1.0 MB)

Braunisch, V., J. Coppes, R. Arlettaz , R. Suchant, F. Zellweger & K. Bollmann. 2014. Temperate Mountain Forest Biodiversity under Climate Change: Compensating Negative Effects by Increasing Structural Complexity. PLoS ONE 9: e97718. (PDF, 1.2 MB)

Zellweger, F., F. Morsdorf, R.S. Purves, V. Braunisch & K. Bollmann. 2014. Improved methods for measuring forest landscape structure: LiDAR complements field-based habitat assessment. Biodiversity and Conservation 23: 289-307. (PDF, 963KB)

Zellweger, F., V. Braunisch, A. Baltensweiler & K. Bollmann. 2013. Remotely sensed forest structural complexity predicts multi species occurrence at the landscape scale. Forest Ecology and Management 307:303-312. (PDF, 2.1 MB)

Braunisch, V., J. Coppes, R. Arlettaz, R. Suchant, H. Schmid & K. Bollmann. 2013. Selecting from correlated climate variables: a major source of uncertainty for predicting species distributions under climate change. Ecography 36: 971-983. (PDF, 1.2 MB)

Bollmann, K. & V. Braunisch. 2013. To integrate or to segregate: balancing commodity production and biodiversity conservation in European forests.  In: Integrative approaches as an opportunity for the conservation of forest biodiversity (eds D. Kraus & F. Krumm), pp. 18-31. European Forest Institute, Freiburg. (PDF, 305KB)

Coppes, J. & V. Braunisch. 2013. Managing visitors in nature areas: where do they leave the trails? A spatial model. Wildlife Biology 19: 1-11. (PDF, 491KB)

Arlettaz, R., P. Patthey & V. Braunisch. 2013. Impacts of Outdoor Winter Recreation on Alpine Wildlife and Mitigation Approaches: A Case Study of the Black Grouse. In: The Impacts of Skiing and Related Winter Recreational Activities on Mountain Environments (eds C. Rixen & A. Rolando), pp. 137-154. Bentham eBooks, Bussum. (PDF, 3.0 MB)

Braunisch, V., R. Home, J. Pellet & R. Arlettaz. 2012. Conservation science relevant to action: A research agenda identified and prioritized by practitioners. Biological Conservation 153: 201-210. (PDF, 417KB)

Arlettaz, R., M.L. Maurer, P. Mosimann-Kampe, S. Nusslé, F. Abadi, V. Braunisch & M. Schaub. 2012. New vineyard cultivation practices create patchy ground vegetation, favouring Woodlarks. Journal of Ornithology 153: 229-238. (PDF, 310KB)

Rutishauser, M.D., F. Bontadina, V. Braunisch, S. Ashrafi & R. Arlettaz. 2012. The challenge posed by newly discovered cryptic species: disentangling the environmental niches of long-eared bats. Diversity and Distributions 18: 1107-1119. (PDF, 476KB)

Arlettaz, R., G. Chapron & V. Braunisch. 2011. Active scepticism must drive biodiversity conservation science. Trends in Ecology & Evolution 26: 379-380. (PDF, 63KB)

Braunisch, V., P. Patthey & R. Arlettaz. 2011. Spatially explicit modeling of conflict zones between wildlife and snow sports: prioritizing areas for winter refuges. Ecological Applications 21: 955-967. (PDF, 2.1 MB)

Arlettaz, R., M. Schaub, J. Fournier, T.S. Reichlin, A. Sierro, J.E.M. Watson & V. Braunisch. 2010. From Publications to Public Actions: When Conservation Biologists Bridge the Gap between Research and Implementation. BioScience 60: 835-842. (PDF, 8.4 MB)

Braunisch, V., G. Segelbacher & A.H. Hirzel. 2010. Modelling functional landscape connectivity from genetic population structure: a new spatially explicit approach. Molecular Ecology 19: 3664-3678. (PDF, 636KB)

Braunisch, V. & R. Suchant. 2010. Predicting species distributions based on incomplete survey data: the trade-off between precision and scale. Ecography 33: 826-840. (PDF, 532KB)

Braunisch, V., K. Bollmann, R.F. Graf & A.H. Hirzel. 2008. Living on the edge – Modelling habitat suitability for species at the edge of their fundamental niche. Ecological Modelling 214: 153–167. (PDF, 1.0 MB)

Braunisch, V. & R. Suchant. 2008. Using ecological forest site mapping for long-term habitat suitability assessments in wildlife conservation – Demonstrated for capercaillie (Tetrao urogallus). Forest Ecology and Management 256: 1209-1221. (PDF, 1.3 MB)

Thiel, D., S. Jenni-Eiermann, V. Braunisch, R. Palme & L. Jenni. 2008. Ski tourism affects habitat use and evokes a physiological stress response in capercaillie Tetrao urogallus: a new methodological approach. Journal of Applied Ecology 45: 845-853. (PDF, 381KB)

Braunisch, V. & R. Suchant. 2007. A model for evaluating the 'habitat potential' of a landscape for capercaillie Tetrao urogallus: a tool for conservation planning. Wildlife Biology 13 (Suppl. 1): 21-33. (PDF, 432KB)

Müller, J.K., V. Braunisch, W. Hwang & A.K. Eggert. 2007. Alternative tactics and individual reproductive success in natural associations of the burying beetle, Nicrophorus vespilloides. Behavioral Ecology 18: 196-203. (PDF, 113KB)

Suchant, R. & V. Braunisch. 2004. Multidimensional habitat modelling in forest management – a case study using capercaillie in the Black Forest, Germany. Ecological Bulletins 51: 455-469. (PDF, 2.4 MB)

Suchant, R., R. Baritz & V. Braunisch. 2003. Wildlife habitat analysis – a multidimensional habitat management model. Journal for Nature Conservation 10: 253-268. (PDF, 672KB)