Planting trees in Switzerland’s mountain forests with the Bergwaldprojekt
Calm and focused planting with total peace of mind!
Since May 2017, the Yves Rocher Foundation has been supporting the Bergwaldprojekt association in Switzerland. Their initiatives are focused on planting trees and caring for forests in the mountains. The goal? To plant over 30,000 trees thanks to support from local forestry services and the association’s many volunteers.
Promoting forest regeneration and planting local species in mountain forestland
The trees are planted at sites where trees are incapable of regenerating naturally. They sometimes succeed, but at too slow a place for the forest to fulfil its protective role. These sites have often been deforested by natural phenomena (storms, avalanches, forest fires, etc.) or pests, such as bark beetles, and require tree-planting action. But tree planting can also be inevitable and necessary from time to time in forests developed sustainably by humans.
The Bergwaldprojekt takes action across the board, with a total of 40 project sites to its name, stretching from Lake Geneva to Liechtenstein and the Jura mountains in the Swiss Canton of Solothurn. All have one factor in common: the mountains.
In these regions, the climate is typical of the Northern Alps, with rain and snow a winter fixture. As a result, autumn and spring are often when the planting happens – before or after the growing season. This significantly boosts the saplings’ chances of survival.
Planting trees adapted to the climate and to local characteristics
The Bergwaldprojekt’s volunteers have planted a host of different local tree species with the forestry services’ approval: silver firs and spruces, in addition to a large number of maples and other deciduous tree species, and shrubs to lend a little greenery to the mountainsides. The trees are chosen for their suitability to the sites, and the saplings are all sourced from nurseries in the region overseen by the Forest Administration.
To ensure the trees grow as they should, additional measures are taken at sowing, such as trivets set up by the planters to protect the seedlings from snow. Support from local foresters ensures the saplings are well looked after in the years following the planting. Over and above its planting activities, this expert mountain forest association undertakes forestland upkeep work with its volunteers, ensuring natural regeneration is helped along by a few native species. In so doing, the Bergwaldprojekt helps preserve the longevity of mountain forests in Switzerland and maintains these ecosystems that abound with biodiversity.
The importance of trees: the beating heart of the planting sessions
The multi-faceted importance of trees lies at the heart of the association’s work. Protecting Switzerland’s mountain forests is about safeguarding ecological balance and protecting biodiversity. Supporting this means supporting tree planting, as well as the association’s more general initiatives.
The Yves Rocher Foundation has helped plant over 30,000 trees on around twenty different sites where reforesting is crucial. Financing reforestation goes hand-in-hand with buying seedlings and the materials needed to protect them and ensure they grow in the very best conditions. It is also important to help with coordinating the activities undertaken by the volunteers, without whom these projects would be impossible to accomplish. Supporting forest upkeep therefore also means contributing to salaries for qualified staff to work on caring for and planting the trees. This support ensures volunteer campaigning and training can take place. Before work begins, it also helps with setting up preliminary visits, research and documentation on the work to be done, and choosing planting sites.
The Bergwaldprojekt: spearheading tree-planting campaigns in Switzerland’s mountain forests
The Bergwaldprojekt is a Swiss charity that aims to support the conservation, upkeep and protection of the forests and rural landscapes that make up the country’s mountain regions. The action it takes involves upkeep and regeneration sessions, and raising public awareness of forest issues. Since it was founded, nearly 70,000 volunteers have joined the association, taking to mountain forests in Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Catalonia and Liechtenstein.
Today, over 30,000 trees have been planted by the Bergwaldprojekt, with an extra 7,000 more due to be planted by the end of 2020.