Switzerland Geography

Geography in Switzerland

Most of Switzerland’s national territory lies in the western Alps and the foothills of the Alps that adjoin Narden and extends from Lake Constance in the northeast to Lake Geneva in the southwest. The approximately 41,300 km² state area is bordered by Germany in the north, Austria in the north-east, Italy in the south and south-east and France in the west. The Principality of Liechtenstein is located between the eastern border and Austria.

The land area of Switzerland can be topographically divided into the Swiss Jura, the densely populated Central Plateau and the Alps with the Pre-Alps. The Swiss plateau is geographically delimited in the north-west and north by the elongated ridges of the Jura. In the south, the relatively abrupt ascent towards the Alps takes place to heights of over 1500 m above sea level. M. Prealps are those areas in Switzerland that mark the transition from the slightly hilly Swiss plateau to the mountainous area of the Alps and are characterized by their elevations as a recreational zone. With the Alps, they describe an arc between southwest and northeast of Switzerland.

The Swiss Alps rise in the Dufourspitze on the border with Italy at heights of up to 4634 m above sea level. NN. The sixteen highest peaks in Switzerland are all in the Valais Alps. The most famous mountain is the 4478 m above sea level. M. high Matterhorn.

The southern shores of Lake Constance, Lake Zurich, Lake Lucerne, Lake Lucerne, Lake Neuchâtel and Lake Geneva are among the most famous lakes in Switzerland. The two most important rivers, the Rhine and the Rhone, carry rainwater to the North Sea and the Mediterranean. The precipitation in eastern Switzerland reaches the Black Sea via the Inn and the Danube.

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Flora and fauna in Switzerland

An estimated 40,000 animal species live in Switzerland, of which around 30,000 are insects and only around 83 mammal species. At least 40 percent of animal species are endangered, especially amphibians and reptiles.

One third of the land surface in Switzerland is forested. In the Alps, conifers dominate (fir, spruce, larch and Swiss stone pine). The forests in the Alps have important functions as avalanche and landslide protection forests as well as for flood protection. In the Central Plateau, in the Jura and on the south side of the Alps below 1000 meters, mixed deciduous forests and deciduous forests grow. Particularly well-known forest areas in Switzerland are the Aletsch Forest, the Sihlwald and the Pfynwald as well as the alpine primeval forests Bödmerenwald, the fir forest of Lac de Derborence, the Scatlè spruce forest near Brigels in the canton of Graubünden and the Val Cama – Val Leggia forest reserve in Misox. In the valleys of Ticino and occasionally in the central plateau, some types of palm grow as ornamental plants, for example the dwarf palm or the Chinese hemp palm.

Most of the approximately 99 mammal species in the wild are bats and other small mammals. Of the large predators that disappeared from Switzerland in the last hundred years, lixxes, wolves and bears have been reintroduced and placed under protection. The red fox is the most common. He also feels very much at home in Swiss cities. Badgers and wildcats can also be found, as well as marmots in some Alpine regions. The stone marten is often found in settlements. Its relative, the pine marten, is rather rare and keeps its distance from people. In the ungulates, some extinct species such as the Alpine ibex have been reintroduced; he populates the high mountains of the Alps. European mouflons have immigrated from France and chamois are very common in the higher regions of the Alps and the Jura. The red deer is native to the lower-lying areas and roe deer mainly populate the Central Plateau and the Jura. Wild sika deer can be found in the Zurich-Schaffhausen border area. The wild boar is also quite common in some areas of northern Switzerland. The beaver was reintroduced by the rodents. The Swiss lakes and rivers are important resting and wintering areas for water birds. Several thousand tufted, pochard and red poched ducks as well as coot, goosander and great crested grebe overwinter in Switzerland every year. Of the birds of prey, the kestrel and the buzzard are particularly common. But red and black kites also occur regularly. The golden eagle colonizes the entire Alpine region again. The hawk and sparrowhawk populations have also recovered and are stable. In 2007, three pairs of the already extinct bearded vulture brooded in Switzerland for the first time. Hazel grouse, rock ptarmigan, black grouse and capercaillie inhabit the Swiss Alps and, in part, the Jura arc. The partridge, the corn corn and the curlew are all threatened with extinction. Owl species such as the tawny owl, the long-eared owl, the eagle owl, the pygmy owl as well as the rough owl and barn owl also live in Switzerland. Many species of woodpecker live in the old mountain forests. Many species of snakes such as the aspis viper feel at home in the sunny southern valleys of the Alps. also lives. Far more common and widespread are the grass snake and the dice snake, the adder is less common in the high altitudes of the Alps and the Jura. In addition, various species of lizards and the European pond turtle can be found in Switzerland. A typical amphibian in Switzerland is the alpine salamander, whose largest population and the center of its distribution is in the Swiss Alps. Around 65 species of fish are native to Swiss waters, including a variety of whitefish that is unique in the world.

Flora in Switzerland

National parks and nature conservation in Switzerland

Nature conservation is legally defined in Switzerland in the Federal Act on Nature Conservation and Homeland Protection, with the aim of protecting and protecting the local landscape and townscape, historical sites and natural and cultural monuments of the country, as well as promoting their preservation and care, regulated.

16 nature parks of national importance are in operation and 3 are in the construction phase (2016). Probably the best known among them is the Swiss National Park founded in 1914 in the canton of Graubünden. Two parks are also designated as biosphere reserves. 165 protected landscapes are listed in the federal inventory of landscapes and natural monuments of national importance. In Switzerland there are a total of 1073 natural forest reserves, including the Swiss National Park, with a total area of approx. 462 km².

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