A research project aimed at identifying the ideal conditions for a sustainable alpine environment has been launched, after receiving the green light from the government.
The study coincides with warnings that the alpine environment is under threat from global warming, and hopes to determine how mountain areas can respond to the climatic changes.
Entitled "Landscapes and habitats of the Alps", it aims to find ways of creating a sustainable alpine environment, in the face of powerful social, economic and political pressures.
The interior minister, Ruth Dreifuss, approved the project's implementation earlier this month, paving the way for the submission of proposals on how better to protect the Alps.
The project is to be funded by the National Science Foundation to the tune of SFr15 million ($8.3 million), and research is expected to last five years.
The launch of the project comes a week after a separate National Science Foundation programme warned that many of Switzerland's alpine resorts might have to close because global warming is causing the snowline to retreat.
Researchers recommended that Switzerland should step up efforts to promote itself as a "nature destination" to mitigate what they predict will be the slow decline of the skiing industry.
swissinfo with agencies