World Wetlands Day 2005 -- Switzerland


Switzerland names mountain wetlands for World Wetlands Day

The Government of the Secretariat's host country, Switzerland, has designated three valuable as well as very scenic Wetlands of International Importance as part of its celebration of World Wetlands Day, 2 February. Switzerland now has eleven Ramsar sites totaling 8,676 hectares. Laubersmad-Salwidili (1,376 ha) is a subalpine area of transitional and raised bogs on the northern slopes of the Alps, in the north-central canton of Lucerne, and is part of the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve "Entlebuch". The Rhonegletschervorfeld consists of the alpine region around the tongue of the Rhône glacier, the source of the mighty Rhône River, and Vadret da Roseg includes the alpine alluvial zone at the outflow of two glaciers in the far east of the country.

The French version of the press release prepared by BUWAL, Switzerland's Bundesamt für Umwelt, Wald und Landschaft (Office fédéral de l'environnement, des forêts et du paysage), can be seen here in PDF or on BUWAL's Web site at The following brief descriptions of the sites have been prepared by Ramsar's Assistant Advisor for Europe, Estelle Gironnet, and are linked to further photographs of each of the new designations.

Laubersmad-Salwidili. 02/02/05; Lucerne; 1,376 ha; 46°58'N 007° 59'E. Biosphere Reserve, Biogenetic Reserve. Several types of mountain swamps with low, transitional and raised bogs of national importance, between 1,060 and 1,900 meters asl, forming a mosaic with wet spruce forests and meadows. It supports rare animal and plant species dependent on these ecosystems and plays an important role in water retention. The presence of the Three-toed Woodpecker, the Capercaillie, the Black Grouse and the Lynx is noted on site. A management plan is implemented and work on raised bogs regeneration has been undertaken in 2004. Human activities include typical Swiss mountain pursuits of pasturage and silviculture, as well as cross-country skiing, hiking, mushroom and berry picking. Ramsar site no. 1444.

Rhonegletschervorfeld. 02/02/05; Valais; 317 ha; 46°34'N 008°22'E. IFP, Alluvial Zone of National Importance. The site includes the spur of ice of the Rhône glacier (source of the Rhône River) and the recent glacier foreland, between 1,750 and 2,485 meters asl. The flat alpine alluvial zone of Gletschbode contains the various stages of plant successions from the pioneer associations on raw ground up to the forests of larches and different types of vegetation developing on wet, moist and even dry grounds. The glacier foreland is an important place for the mountain avifauna, and 25 species of birds are breeding on site, among which are the Rock Partridge, the Black Grouse, the Rufous-tailed Rock-Thrush. In summer and autumn, the site is used for recreation (hiking, alpinism, ice grotto visit) and grazed by cattle on restricted areas. The Cantonal Service of the Forests and Landscape is in charge of the management of the site. Ramsar site no. 1445.

Vadret da Roseg. 02/02/05; Grisons; 383 ha; 46°25'N 009°52'E. IFP; Alluvial Zone of National Importance.The site consists of the glacier foreland, between 2,000 and 2,800 meters asl, common to the two glaciers Vadret da Roseg and Vadret da Tschierva and the alpine alluvial zone formed on the place of their retreats. It includes a lake and meanders of the Ova da Roseg, a stream originating from the spurs of ice of the two glaciers. The natural dynamism of the stream and the constant evolution of its meanders network create the conditions for a high biodiversity of vegetation to develop and also plays an important role by regulating the water level. A danger of flooding remains, however, because of possible water excess in the lake. Potential threats to the site include climate change, which could result in the complete melting of the glaciers. No further construction is allowed within the site. Ramsar site no. 1446.

"There's wealth in wetland diversity
- don't lose it!"

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Number of » Contracting Parties: 168 Sites designated for the
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2,186 Total surface area of designated sites (hectares): 208,674,247

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