On semi-open pre-alpine fen pastures Alder encroachment creates a dynamic mosaic of grassland and woodland, which is rich in ecotones from fen to Carr. The structural diversity in colonisation patterns of Alder on fens suggests a dependency on multiple environmental drivers. Unidirectional progressive ecotone development provides an opportunity to address a current deficit in understanding successional patterns, i.e. process-pattern relationships in a multiple factor regime.