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The Swiss Alps are beautiful, but are they biodiverse?

Voters to have final say on biodiversity and landscape protection

The campaigners used boxes with the collected signatures to form the shape of Switzerland before the signatures were handed in to the Federal Chancellery.. Keystone / Alessandro Della Valle

Campaigners have handed in signatures to force nationwide votes on two initiatives to protect biodiversity and stop the spread of built-up areas in Switzerland.

This content was published on September 8, 2020 - 12:24
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Several environmental groups, including Pro Natura, BirdLife Switzerland, as well as the Swiss Foundation for Landscape Protection and Development, collected more than 108,000 signatures and 105,000 signatures respectively for their proposed constitutional amendments.

The two initiatives which also have the support of the Swiss Heritage Society, were launched in March 2019.

“Diverse landscapes, lively brooks, fertile soil and a rich architecture: Much of what Switzerland stands for has come under massive pressure. But politicians and the authorities are doing very little to safeguard this wealth and our livelihood for the future,” the campaigners saidExternal link on Tuesday.

The NGOs criticised that nearly 40% of the buildings are outside designated building zones and that currently laws fail to protect the landscape and ensure biodiversity.

In 2013, voters endorsed revised legislation restricting the total amount of building land.

Study

In another development, a new study External linkpublished by the University of Bern, found that more than 700 species of Switzerland’s flora are under threat.

Researchers found that up to 40% of the more than 8,000 plant populations disappeared over the past ten to 50 years.

They said the results of the survey were like an early-warning system for biodiversity loss.

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