Hub Bern: Challenge 1

Sustainable human interactions in sensitive nature areas

Biodiversity in Switzerland is suffering. Almost half of the habitat types and half of all native species are threatened or potentially threatened. To curb the loss of terrestrial and freshwater biodiversity, and in accordance with the UN Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF), Switzerland needs a functioning ecological infrastructure: a network of biodiversity hotspots and interconnected protected areas throughout the landscape. Within this network, the status and quality of habitats need to be improved and invasive species controlled. However, regions with a dense network of protected areas are also highly popular recreation areas, and increasing visitor impacts on biodiversity and ecosystems are posing major challenges. Therefore, human activities in nature parks and near protected areas must be developed jointly by all actors and aligned with biodiversity goals.

Bern Region

Photo by: Ramona Michel

Our goal

To identify and initiate first systemic, innovative solutions that enable sustainable human interactions in sensitive nature areas.

Co-design of solutions and stewardship
  • The Wyss Academy advisory committee members were invited for a field visit to a regenerated raised bog near Bern, with inputs on the importance of bogs in biodiversity conservation and climate protection, as well as on the goals and activities of Hub Bern projects.
  • Swiss and European bog experts shared their knowledge and experience with Swiss policymakers and practitioners and jointly worked on identifying best practices for the regeneration of raised bogs.
  • A draft technical plan for ecological infrastructure in the Canton of Bern was developed.
  • Various sensitization and visitor management measures were tested and monitored in the three Bernese nature parks.
  • A test survey with 500 people about forest fire awareness was completed; several indices (e.g. foehn and bise) were computed; daily meteorological fields were calculated at a scale of one by one km; and an analysis of past forest fires on the northern side of the Alps was concluded.
Projects underway

Ecological infrastructure of the Canton of Bern
Technical planning of ecological infrastructure for the Canton of Bern

Stopping biodiversity loss in water bodies – despite climate change
Integrated management of the Aare River (climate, biodiversity, infrastructure)

Regenerating raised bogs more efficiently and more effectively
Accelerate and implement raised bog regeneration campaigns

Hydrology of the Bernese Fens
Define and manage the hydrological buffer of fens

Master plan for the management of invasive non-native species
Dealing with invasive species

Nature park stations in Bernese parks
Development and testing of sensitization and visitor management approaches and tools (Chasseral, Diemtigtal, Gantrisch)

Forest fire management
Development of a climate-change-adapted risk management system to prevent and control forest fires