Switzerland: Intensive logging and forest degradation in supposedly protected nature sites

Switzerland has ratified the Bern Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats. As a contracting party and to help meet its commitments, it has designated Areas of Special Conservation Interest (ASCIs). Together , those areas form the Emerald Network, where nature and biodiversity are meant to be protected. 

Lucie Wuethrich investigated one of those areas, the Emerald Network No.28  Belpau, in the canton of Bern, close to the Swiss capital. Her presentation, dated March 2021, shows that logging inside the Belpau area is intensifying, with much of the extracted wood being chipped and burnt locally. The destructive logging activities are frequently being justified as “enhancing biodiversity”, which misrepresents their real impacts. The intensity of the logging is causing serious harm to the forest and to biodiversity. 

Growing demand for biomass energy is a key driver for the intensification of logging in Switzerland, especially in the mixed forests of the central plain.