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Forests to be maintained for the common good

The cabinet wants the forestry law to prioritise the protection of forests Keystone

The cabinet says it will support the country’s forests but intends to concentrate financial resources and energies on measures which are in the public interest.

It has proposed a number of amendments to the forestry law to preserve the biological diversity of forests and recognise their role in providing protection from natural disasters.

“The forest should protect inhabited areas and busy streets from natural disasters, provide recreation, clean drinking water and offer diversified space for living,” said a statement by the cabinet.

At the same time, it rejected the idea of abolishing subsidies for the forestry sector, announcing instead a series of measures to improve efficiency.

This included easing the duty to replant trees near an area that had been cleared if the region was already densely forested. This would apply to the Jura mountains and parts of the country south of the Alps.

The sector has been struggling for some time, with the price of Swiss timber decreasing over the past few years.


The cabinet also laid down criteria to ensure that Swiss forests are managed as close as possible to natural conditions and in a sustainable fashion.

These would allow cantons, where a substantial increase in the forested surface is not desirable, to remove new woods at any time. Currently this is only possible between woodland and building zones.

The proposals are now subject to a consultation process. Interested parties and stakeholders have four months to comment on the proposed amendments.

The current law entered into force in 1993.

swissinfo with agencies

Total forest: 1.2 million hectares (30% of the country’s total surface)
Protected forests: 0.093 million hectares (9% of forests)
27 per cent is in private hands
Growth: 9.8 million m3/year
Forestry workers: 7,300

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR