Navigation

Storm causes unprecedented damage to Swiss forests

The Federal Environment Agency says the weekend storm, Lothar, caused the worst damage done to Swiss forests since records began being kept in the last century.

This content was published on December 29, 1999 - 13:16

The Federal Environment Agency says the weekend storm, Lothar, caused the worst damage done to Swiss forests since records began being kept in the last century.

The agency said trees amounting to more than 8 million cubic metres were knocked down in the gale-force winds. It said the storm did in one day what woodcutters normally do in two years, when harvesting trees.

Cantons Berne, Fribourg, Lucerne and Aargau reported the largest forest damage. The authorities in the central canton of Nidwalden estimated that one in every ten trees was knocked down.

The Environment Agency said it appeared that all tree varieties were affected, no single type was able to resist the storm's wrath better than any other. But the forests on the south side of the Alps and in canton Valais survived intact.

Statistics show that there has been an increase in powerful storms and resulting damage to forests since 1962. Officials said the increase could be a result of global warming, even though there is still no hard evidence.

The agency did say there was a positive side to the mass destruction. It said areas where whole stands of trees litter the ground promotes biodiversity.

From staff and wire reports.

This article was automatically imported from our old content management system. If you see any display errors, please let us know: community-feedback@swissinfo.ch

In compliance with the JTI standards

In compliance with the JTI standards

More: SWI swissinfo.ch certified by the Journalism Trust Initiative

Contributions under this article have been turned off. You can find an overview of ongoing debates with our journalists here. Please join us!

If you want to start a conversation about a topic raised in this article or want to report factual errors, email us at english@swissinfo.ch.

Share this story

Change your password

Do you really want to delete your profile?