FACE: Stillberg CO2 enrichment and soil warming study

Background information

High elevation ecosystems are important in research about environmental change because shifts in climate associated with anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions are predicted to be more pronounced in these areas compared to most other regions of the world. This project involved a Free Air CO2 Enrichment (FACE) and soil warming experiment located in a natural treeline environment near Davos, Switzerland (Stillberg, 2200 m a.s.l.). Elevated atmospheric CO2 concentrations (+200 ppm) were applied from 2001 until 2009, and a soil warming treatment (+4 °C) was applied from 2007 until 2012. The combined CO2 enrichment and warming treatment reflects conditions expected to occur in this region in approximately 2050. A broad range of ecological and biogeochemical research was carried out as part of this environmental change project.

Experimental design

The experiment consisted of 40 hexagonal 1.1 m² plots, 20 with a Pinus mugo ssp. uncinata (mountain pine, evergreen) individual in the centre and 20 with a Larix decidua (European larch, deciduous) individual in the centre. A dense cover of understorey vegetation surrounded the tree in each plot, including the dominant dwarf shrub species Vaccinium myrtillus (bilberry), Vaccinium gaultherioides (group V. uliginosum agg., northern bilberry) and Empetrum nigrum ssp. hermaphroditum (crowberry) plus several herbaceous and non-vascular species. At the beginning of the experimental period, the 40 plots were assigned to ten groups of four neighbouring plots (two larch and two pine trees per group) in order to facilitate the logistics of CO2 distribution and regulation. Half of these groups were randomly assigned to an elevated CO2 treatment, while the remaining groups served as controls and received no additional CO2. In spring 2007, one plot of each tree species identity was randomly selected from each of the 10 CO2 treatment groups and assigned a soil warming treatment, yielding a balanced design with a replication of five individual plots for each combination of CO2 level, warming treatment and tree species.

Data description

Soil and air conditions have been monitored closely throughout the study period, with most measurements made during the combined CO2 x warming experiment (2007-2009). The data comprise of air temperature, soil temperature, soil moisture, sapflow, tree diameter and CO2 measurements.

Funding Information:

This work was supported by:
  • Swiss National Science Foundation (2001-2005) (Grant/Award: 31-061428.00)
  • Swiss National Science Foundation (2007-2010) (Grant/Award: 315200-116861)
  • ANR - Biodiversité (2006-2008)
  • Velux Foundation (2007-2012) (Grant/Award: 371)

Related Datasets

EnviDat Project: Treeline Research Stillberg Switzerland

Related Publications

Dawes, M.A., Hagedorn, F., Zumbrunn, T., Handa, I.T., Hättenschwiler, S., Wipf, S. and Rixen, C., 2011. Growth and community responses of alpine dwarf shrubs to in situ CO2 enrichment and soil warming. New Phytologist, 191(3), pp.806-818.

Dawes, M.A., Hättenschwiler, S., Bebi, P., Hagedorn, F., Handa, I.T., Körner, C. and Rixen, C., 2011. Species‐specific tree growth responses to 9 years of CO2 enrichment at the alpine treeline. Journal of Ecology, 99(2), pp.383-394.

Dawes, M.A., Zweifel, R., Dawes, N., Rixen, C. and Hagedorn, F., 2014. CO 2 enrichment alters diurnal stem radius fluctuations of 36‐yr‐old Larix decidua growing at the alpine tree line. New Phytologist, 202(4), pp.1237-1248.

Dawes, M.A., Philipson, C.D., Fonti, P., Bebi, P., Hättenschwiler, S., Hagedorn, F. and Rixen, C., 2015. Soil warming and CO 2 enrichment induce biomass shifts in alpine tree line vegetation. Global Change Biology, 21(5), pp.2005-2021.

Rixen, C., Dawes, M.A., Wipf, S. and Hagedorn, F., 2012. Evidence of enhanced freezing damage in treeline plants during six years of CO2 enrichment and soil warming. Oikos, 121(10), pp.1532-1543.

Streit, K., Rinne, K.T., Hagedorn, F., Dawes, M.A., Saurer, M., Hoch, G., Werner, R.A., Buchmann, N. and Siegwolf, R.T., 2013. Tracing fresh assimilates through Larix decidua exposed to elevated CO 2 and soil warming at the alpine treeline using compound‐specific stable isotope analysis. New Phytologist, 197(3), pp.838-849.


Dawes, Melissa; Hagedorn, Frank; Bebi, Peter; Lechler, Lia; Frei, Esther R.; Rixen, Christian (2016). FACE: Stillberg CO2 enrichment and soil warming study. WSL Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research SLF. doi:10.16904/envidat.46.

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Data and Resources


Field Values
DOI 10.16904/envidat.46
Publication State Published
  • Email: melissa.dawesfoo(at)slf.ch Given Name: Melissa Family Name: Dawes Affiliation: WSL Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research SLF
  • Email: frank.hagedornfoo(at)wsl.ch ORCID: 0000-0001-5218-7776 Given Name: Frank Family Name: Hagedorn Affiliation: Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research WSL
  • Email: bebifoo(at)slf.ch ORCID: 0000-0001-8868-6569 Given Name: Peter Family Name: Bebi Affiliation: WSL Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research SLF
  • Email: lia.lechlerfoo(at)slf.ch Given Name: Lia Family Name: Lechler Affiliation: WSL Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research SLF
  • Email: esther.freifoo(at)wsl.ch ORCID: 0000-0003-1910-7900 Given Name: Esther R. Family Name: Frei Affiliation: Swiss Federal Research Institute WSL
  • Email: rixenfoo(at)slf.ch ORCID: 0000-0002-2486-9988 Given Name: Christian Family Name: Rixen Affiliation: WSL Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research SLF
Contact Person Given Name: Christian Family Name: Rixen Email: rixenfoo(at)slf.ch
Publication Publisher: WSL Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research SLF Year: 2016
  • Type: Collected Date: 2001-01-01 End Date: 2012-12-31
Version 1.0
Type dataset
General Type Dataset
Language English
Location Davos, Switzerland
Content License Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike (CC-BY-SA)    [Open Data]
Last Updated October 19, 2023, 15:27 (UTC)
Created November 4, 2016, 13:12 (UTC)

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