Prairies and Dry Pastures

Prairies and dry pastures (PPS in French) are zones of high biodiversity: 40% of protected plant species and 50% of protected animal species present in Switzerland are found in these zones. This includes many endangered species. In addition to their ecological importance, the PPS are also highly important for their scenic and touristic value since these flower meadows represent a characteristic part of the image of rural Switzerland. During the last 60 years, around 90% of Prairies and Dry Pastures in Switzerland have vanished. It is estimated that 15% to 20% of Prairies and Dry Pastures have disappeared since 1994 alone (when the task of establishing an inventory of these zones was begun). These zones are under threat through both intensive agriculture and abandonment of farming, by construction, reforestation, and by tourist services or other development. In mountain zones where slopes are steep, PPS zones are gradually colonised by shrubs if there is insufficient grazing (i.e. a lack of pastoral exploitation).  For these reasons, farmers in our region have created the Ecological Network of the Muverans. The network commissioned expert biologists to survey the PPS remaining in the region and to recommend measures for the member farmers to adopt in order to preserve and even enlarge these biotopes.
We had the fortune and the pleasure to welcome a dozen ‘civilistes’ (young people undertaking civil service) during April 2013 for the first ever PPS working group in the Canton of Vaud. During two weeks they worked to revitalise PPS in the ‘Combes’ area below Huémoz. This area has now rediscovered its vista of 40-years-ago.
A BIG THANK YOU to all involved!