|Protected Areas in Switzerland
The responsibility of the Confederation for the nature and landscape protection is laid down in Article 24 of the Federal Constitution, in the following terms: the protection of nature and preservation of national heritage is a cantonal concern.
Many sites (about 1700) have been classified Nature Reserve at the federal or the canton level in the last 90 years; however, only 2% of the national territory is adequately protected, since nature reserves are often too small and isolated (altogether they cover 760 km2). In most there are strict prohibitions on the collection of fauna and flora, as well as restrictions on public access.
Most of the national protected areas fall within one of these main categories:
- Strict Nature Reserves (UICN category I): these are protected areas whose natural evolution is left untouched, and which have preservation and research purposes. The Swiss National Park belongs to this category: it does not represent a traditional national park (protected area for the preservation of ecosystems and recreational aims) since human intervention is largely forbidden.
- Areas for the protection of biotopes and species (UICN category IV): in general these are small reserves rich in species or characterised by peculiar species associations, which need specific actions aimed at conservation. Many of the country's small reserves belong to his category.
Other designations: 1 Biosphere Reserve, 41 federal hunting reserves, 17 canton nature reserves, 52 protected landscapes.
Sources: Pro Natura, UNEP-WCMC, R. Gambino "I Parchi Naturali Europei", NIS 1994.