Buch "Wildnis Schweiz".
The wilderness begins in the head.
When the Swiss National Park was opened on August 1, 1914, resourceful townspeople seized the opportunity and Alpine communities willing to sell a large piece of land bought that they no longer intended to use. And even if the withdrawal of people from the remote alpine areas has continued unstoppably, especially in recent times, the rural population is no longer willing to offer a hand for similar deals. Neither expansion plans for the national park nor the establishment of a new national park had a chance at the urns. The willingness to give up use, even if this no longer takes place, has shrunk as much as the need of the population in the metropolitan areas to experience untouched nature in their free time has grown.
If one follows the definition of the World Conservation Union, then the national park is the only Swiss wilderness area - because the national park area is protected from any human influence. A study by Mountain Wilderness Switzerland and the Swiss Federal Research Institute WSL has shown that around 17 percent of the Swiss land area is still described as wild. In the absence of “pure” wilderness areas (which also applies to the national park, where almost all forest areas were cleared in the mid-19th century), the quality of wilderness areas was measured, among other things, according to the quantity of human influence: the fewer people, the more wilderness . In addition, criteria such as “naturalness”, “remoteness” or “roughness of the landscape” played a role, and the size: 500 hectares were considered the minimum area. It is hardly surprising that such large areas are found almost exclusively in the Alpine region; the highest quality is achieved in high mountains, which in many cases are hardly accessible for the average hiker.
But if you think on a smaller scale, you will also find wilderness on your doorstep. According to the definition of the Wild Europe Initiative, "Wild Area" is the name given to these small and smallest areas in which natural processes, such as in the large "Wilderness Areas", run largely undisturbed. Experts from the Swiss Landscape Foundation and the ETH have presented a different concept with "Tranquility" areas and then tapped Switzerland for "quiet areas". It tries to take subjective criteria into account. In addition to the closeness to nature, they also take into account factors such as noise or - on page 2 night - light nuisance or traffic noise, and for the Swiss Central Plateau, where there is a complete lack of large wilderness areas, there is a surprising variety of "tranquility" areas that are only too close overlap a very small part with protected areas or the small wilderness areas, but on the other hand more closely meet the need of many city dwellers to relax in the local recreation area. And it also shows how important it is to preserve such oases in urban areas.
Against this background, we would like to paint a slightly different picture with the book “Wilderness Switzerland”, a very diverse, surprising one, one that describes the wilderness on the doorstep as well as the spectacular, sublime deserted natural landscape, one that shows how every wilderness, no matter how small, is valuable. There is more of it than you might think. And, in the age of the Anthropocene, it is the human being who decides their fate. The book is intended to draw attention to this and invite you to explore both the wilderness on your doorstep in the Central Plateau and those in the mountains.