Dry grasslands maintenance

Many of us want to do something practical to benefit nature. The dry meadows and pastures are very species-rich, but highly endangered, and they need regular maintenance which the farmers do not always have time to do. The aim of this project is to mobilize groups to help farmers maintain these grasslands.

Location: French-speaking Switzerland
Leader: Quentin Kohler, conservation officer

Project description

Download the flyer ARCH-FLYER PPS-lowres (in French).

Flowers, butterflies, grasshoppers, reptiles, birds, insects, plants and small mammals: the grasslands provide a habitat for more than 30% of all the living species in Switzerland. The biodiversity is very high. However, 90% of these grasslands have disappeared since 1950 because of intensive agriculture, urbanization and scrub encroachment. The few remaining pastures need protection.

To maintain the biodiversity of a meadow or pasture the land needs to be farmed extensively, using very little fertilizer. The farmer receives direct payments to compensate for any loss of revenue, but specific management activities are required to maintain these areas. Farmers are often no longer able to undertake the work needed, mainly because they do not have time. This leads to the meadows gradually being abandoned and a loss of diversity as a result.

The idea behind the project is that groups can help the farmers to maintain these rich and precious ecosystems.

Rich but endangered environments

How to get involved

This project takes place in the French-speaking part of Switzerland, and is tailored to groups of 5–15 people (local natural history groups, youth clubs, scouts, church groups, companies) who would like to spend time working outdoors and can volunteer for half a day or a full day. A Rocha Switzerland organizes the work day with the volunteer group, supplies all materials (except gardening gloves) and liaises with a suitable farmer. The maintenance work includes shrub clearance, selective mowing and creating small habitat structures to foster biodiversity.

Ideally this would become a regular event for the group, once or twice per year.

Individual people may also take part alongside the work groups.

Do you want to know more?

For more information, including future dates and locations, please contact [email protected].

Please see this page (in French) for some images and comments on past events.

Project in partnership with

  • Farmers
  • Cantonal offices
  • Serve the City