Despite some successes, the landscape remains under pressure

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Copyright: FOEN
Copyright: FOEN
The population appreciates the landscape around it, but it continues to be under pressure. Without additional measures, the quality of the landscape as defined by the Federal Council in the Swiss Landscape Concept (SLC) will not be achieved. These are the main findings of the Swiss Landscape Monitoring program. The latest results of this program are published by the Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN) and the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research (WSL).

In Switzerland, the inhabitants are satisfied with the landscape in their community of residence. The landscape is appreciated as a place of identity, especially as a place of relaxation. However, this general perception must be qualified: people living in rural communities appreciate the landscape around them more than people living in urban areas. In addition, the landscape of the municipality of residence is perceived as more beautiful by the owners of their dwelling than by the tenants. These findings are part of the report on landscape development published by the FOEN and the WSL.

More light emissions, less greenery in the cities

The monitoring program also shows that the Swiss landscape is changing. Urban sprawl and fragmentation continue to increase, as does soil sealing, although at a slower rate in recent years. The report shows that the population is critical of these changes. On the other hand, the renaturation of rivers and streams is seen as a positive development.

The increased pressure from the use of the landscape by the population and the economy is also reflected in other areas. The areas of darkness at night are shrinking as a result of the light emissions caused by the expansion of urban areas. Urban areas are being built closer and closer to the forest, or even directly adjacent to it, and green spaces in the built environment are being reduced.

Despite some positive developments - for the first time, the area of housing and infrastructure is growing slightly less rapidly than the population - the landscape continues to be under constant pressure. Without measures to preserve and improve landscape quality, the objectives set by the Federal Council in the Swiss Landscape Concept cannot be achieved. For this reason, landscape quality must be given greater consideration in planning and land use in order to preserve the characteristics of the Swiss landscape and the valuable services it provides to the population and the economy.

Swiss Landscape Monitoring (SL M)

In order to document the state and development of the landscape, WSL has been conducting the OPS monitoring program on behalf of the FOEN since 2007. This program, which is unique in Europe, not only aims to analyze the landscape and its changes, but also the perception of the population. The FOEN integrates landscape observation into its regular state of the environment reports.