Walking Tour and Site Visits

We are offering a walking tour and two exciting ecological site visits to enhance your stay in Bergen.

The Bergen Railway between Oslo and Bergen is considered one of the world's most scenic train journeys.

Bergen is a beautiful city, scenic city, known as the Gateway to the fjords, so we highly recommend making the most of you visit and spending some time in the city and local surroundings.

We have planned a pre-conference walking tour of Bergen and two exciting post conference site visits relevant to ecology and the themes of the conference. If you want to attend, make sure to add the activity to your registration when booking.

Pre Conference Walking Tour

Sunday 2 September
£10 per person

With Mons Kvamme as your guide.

Bergen was established nearly one thousand years ago as a centre for the export of stockfish from Northern-Norway. From the very beginning it was an international trading town, with merchants from all over Europe. However, the town was totally dependent of the local farmers in the neighbouring countryside for its daily subsistence. The landscape surrounding the town was heavily influenced by farming activities like grazing, heather burning and the collecting of firewood. Until the late 19th century there was hardly a tree to be seen in the slopes around the town.

Past and Present Treelines at Upsete

Wednesday 5 September
£75 per person

With Anne E Bjune and Vigdis Vandvik as your guides.

On this day trip, we will visit Upsete. This valley is situated on the infamous Bergen – Oslo railway and the train station is just above the present day treeline. This makes the area suitable for studying the dynamics of both the present and the past treeline.

From the lake Trettetjørn (800m above sea level) at Upsete, sediments have revealed long-term treeline fluctuations based on the pollen and plant macrofossils preserved within them. After deglaciation, the early Holocene vegetation developed from an open pioneer herb-dominated vegetation into dwarf-shrub heath with shrubs, which was soon colonised by Betula and later by Pinus sylvestris. Maximum treeline altitudes occurred in the early-to mid-Holocene. A shift from mixed pine-birch woodland to birch woodland is seen from ca. 4300 cal years BP with the development of a sub-alpine birch belt followed by further recession of the birch forest. Further decrease of woodland and opening of the landscape in the last 2000 years occurred due to climatic change and human impact such as sheep and cattle grazing. As we will see on this day, an extensive settlement was present here around 1900 when the rail way was constructed.

After visiting the lake, we will walk towards the present day treeline area. During this walk, we will discuss the dynamics of the present day tree line, look at plant species diversity, and visit sites were pollen traps have been present for the last 14 years to quantify the annual variation in pollen production and pollen representation of common taxa found at or near the treeline.

The cost covers the standard fare for the Bergen – Oslo railway, which is quite the experience in itself, and an experienced guide accompanying the group. You will need to bring your own packed lunch.

Exploring the Heathland Centre at Lygra

Wednesday 5 September
£55 per person

With Mons Kvamme and Siri Vatsø Haugum as your guides.

The Heathland Centre (Lyngheisenteret) is beautifully located on the heathlands at Lygra in Lindås municipality in Nordhordland, about 50 minutes from Bergen. The heathlands along the coast of Western-Norway developed over a timespan of more than 3000 years, starting in the late Stone-age more than 4000 years ago. Their history is closely related to the expansion of small scale coastal farming, based on all-year-round  grazing by most of the livestock. In order to provide winter grazing potential, the coastal farmers created and maintained Calluna-dominated heathlands, managed by regular and controlled burning. This has proved to be a sustainable method to utilize the ressources of the coastal landscape during thousands of years. Until the late 1960s it was a general view that the open heathlands were caused by climatic deteriorations in the past. By studying the local development of the heatlands this has been proven to be wrong. People, not climate created tis semi-natural landscape. The Heathland Centre is a hub for ecological and palaeoecological research into landscape history, successional dynamics, biodiversity, ecosystem functioning, and climate change resilience. There is an Exhibition and film both in English.

You will be served locally sourced lunch with an explanation from the head chef about the food, their restaurant and the animals that they farm there.

The ticket cost includes a return ferry to Lygra, an experienced ecological guide, and locally sourced lunch.