The Swiss National Park and its natural environment have been the subject of scientific observation and research over the past 100 years, relying notably on photography to chart changes.
The first national park anywhere in the Alps was founded in 1914 by conservationists concerned about increasing industrialisation in mountain regions. They set up a Swiss branch of the Society for the Protection of Nature and won approval from parliament to set aside an area in southeastern Switzerland.
Similar reserves had already been established in the United States back in 1872. The aim then was to counter colonisation of the Western territories.
One of the founding fathers of nature protection in Switzerland was Paul Sarasin, who travelled far and wide in Europe and southeast Asia as a scientist at the end of the 19th century. During his trips he was shocked to see how the colonial powers and industrialisation threatened natural environments.
Campaigners for a national park in Switzerland could count on broad public support. But the project really kicked off only at the beginning of the 20th century, when plans made to build a railway to the Matterhorn failed to get public backing.
The park's founders finally located an area in the Lower Engadine Valley. In 1909 they were able to lease the Cluozza valley from the municipality of Zernez for 25 years.
The Swiss conservationists weren't seeking to preserve nice scenery, however; they wanted to make sure some part of nature would remain unspoilt by human activities.
The park finally opened on the Swiss national holiday, August 1, 1914.
(Pictures: Swiss National Park, Text: Christian Raaflaub, swisssinfo.ch)