Swiss parks boast a huge diversity of natural landscapes. There are forests in varying forms, natural rivers and lakes, Alpine and Jura meadows, rare habitats such as moors, wetlands and dry grasslands, as well as glaciers in the Alps. This diversity of habitats results in a rich variety of flora and fauna.
An above average number of endangered species live in the Swiss parks.
Large, functional, well-integrated habitats are necessary to preserve and boost biodiversity in the Swiss parks. Today these habitats are still too fragmented.
Swiss parks host an above average number of protected areas. Nevertheless, human activities are expected in most of them. After all, they created today's multifaceted cultural landscapes.
The Swiss parks are committed to preserving and streghtening their natural habitats. They encourage local appreciation of the biodviersity and create a network between the various stakeholders and above the usual border of sectoral policies. Thus, they create a basis for a long-term protection of the habitats and biodiversity.
Example: Wildnispark Zurich Sihlwald
Welcome to the Wildnispark Zurich Sihlwald
With its 11 square kilometres, the dynamic Wildnispark Zurich Sihlwald is unique in the central Swiss lowlands as it is a very rare example of a primeval beech forest. Nature was set free in 2000 only, yet today large park areas already seem very wild with their fallen, decaying trees and dead trunks.
Wilderness creates diverse habitats for plants and animals. For instance, dead tree trunks become a shelter for hundreds of beetles, mosquitoes and flies species. The park also hosts an overwhelming variety of mushrooms and lichens. Beech, ash and white fir trees grow above the giant 50 meters mark.
The Wildnispark Zurich Sihlwald is the only officially recognized and certified "Nature discovery park" in Switzerland. This certification provides a unique opportunity to combine nature protection and relaxing activities for visitors. Many of them are looking for a special experience in the wild on the many cycling, walking and riding park paths, in stark contrast to hectic urban life.
Example: Chasseral Nature Park
Wooded pastures that have to be preserved
Wooden meadows with spruce and stonewalls are a typical feature of the Jura mountains. As there is no clear divide between forests and meadows, open and closed landscapes are in perfect harmony, a quality many visitors love. Wooden meadows are also biodiversity hotspots. They result from ancient farming activities but do not meet today's agriculture needs: if meadows are too far from the farms, they get invaded by trees. If they are too close from horse stables, then the trees disappear. Stonewalls lose their purpose, resulting in a significant biodiversity and landscape loss. The park looks for solutions to preserve them hand in hand with landowners, farmers, forest rangers and biologists.
In order to protect and preserve its wooden meadows, the Jura mountains visible heritage, the park implements concrete actions such as creating water points, planting trees on the Anabaptists trail, restoring stone walls, and developing volunteering programmes.
Fabien Vogelsperger, Director
Each park features characteristic natural and cultural landscapes. They are the root of the local community's identity and make the region attractive for guests.
Swiss parks therefore strive to preserve and improve the quality of their landscapes. They serve as a platform for the exchange of ideas and information between all concerned parties.
Swiss parks actively participate in preserving their cultural landscapes. Amongst other things, they do so through labels for regional products, awareness and educational activities for the community and visitors or special corporate volunteering programs where companies or organisation employees care for nature under expert guidance.