The SilvaProtect-CH project has been launched by the Swiss Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN) to define which forests have a protective function. Furthermore the computerized geo-information data used in the project have allowed defining from which natural dangers they protect us.
Around half of the Swiss forests have a protective function. They are clearly more present in the Alps and they protect buildings and roads. In Switzerland, a quart of the routes are exposed to a potential natural danger: landslides, avalanches…
The SilvaProtect-CH project has also allowed determining a distribution key for the federal financial means attributed to the maintenance of the protective forests. This key has been applied since the signature of the conventions-programmes with the cantons within the framework of the new distribution of tasks between the Swiss Confederation and the cantons. The Swiss Confederation assumes 40% of the costs generated by the maintenance of this « natural way of protection », which means near 60 millions of francs per year. The remaining costs are taken over by the cantons and the beneficiaries of this protection, for example the municipalities. The maintenance of these forests is a compulsory condition to keep the protection function in the long term and it is carried out by skilled professionals on behalf of groups or forest owners.
For further information, visit the project website (only available in French).
Source: SAB (Swiss Group for mountain regions)