Gaëtan Marchand

MSc student

+41 31 684 45 38
Postal Address
Muesmattstrasse 27
CH-3012 Bern

I am particularly interested in the promotion and conservation of biodiversity in farmland and would like to find solutions to change our actual system towards a biodiversity-friendlier agriculture. Semi-natural grasslands are one of the most species rich habitats and have been maintained since centuries through traditional agriculture. They are now among the most human impacted habitats and they have experienced a strong decline in area since the 20th century. Insects also experienced a strong decline in their populations in the last few decades, mainly due to habitat destruction and intensification of agriculture. Many semi-natural grasslands remain as fragments in the landscape, which creates connectivity problems for the different species living in these habitats, and there is now an urgent need to maintain them via low-intensity management practices but also to restore them. My Master is part of the passive restoration project of the CB division and focuses on the passive restoration of mountain grasslands in the canton of Valais. Since the landscape in mountain regions is more heterogeneous, meaning that the different plant species are still present in the surrounding environment, and that the intensification of these grasslands is more recent than in the lowland, plant species should be able to recolonize the grasslands if the management intensity is reduced. The aim of this project is thus to reduce the management intensity of grasslands and to compare their diversity with intensively managed ones. It is also important to assess the response of the different invertebrate taxa to this restoration process. I will thus investigate the effect of this passive grassland restoration on butterflies, since they represent a very good indicator group to monitor biodiversity. They are also a really cool and nice group to work on!